Case Study: Kingman Museum
- Carefully pack, relocate and deliver all elements and collections of the Kingman Museum to a climate-controlled warehouse for extended storage
- Limited workforce and volunteers ready to contribute due to coronavirus regulations
- Systematically catalog each item throughout move process
- Safely protect and relocate museum exhibits
- Verify all pieces are properly protected for prolonged storage
- Collaborate with museum authorities to ensure pieces are transferred systematically
- Custom handling and crating for one-of-a-kind, rare, intricate and valuable museum artifacts
- Transportation of all artifacts to storage warehouse maintained by the museum
- Isolate items from any humidity or distressing situation while being stored
“You have to speak the language of your customer,” said Steve Wayward, while speaking of his time working together with the Kingman Museum. “They reached out to Corrigan when they decided to relocate the complete museum. They were aware of our name, and that we’ve provided successful solutions for similar museums in the region. After speaking with them, I knew immediately what we could do for them, and I’m certain they knew instantly, as well. Sometimes it’s that first interaction that lets you know the partnership is a good fit. In this case, it was.”
As the Director of Commercial Sales, Steve has been involved with a number of of museum moves, although, this museum move amounted to being a touch different from his previous projects. “They possess an incredibly diverse collection,” explained Wayward. “There’s everything from Native American artifacts to taxidermy. Having such a extensive range of pieces proved to be a fascinating challenge for us, so we had to undoubtedly collaborate with the experts at the museum. They know their artifacts better than anyone, and this was definitely an occasion where our team relied on them for their expertise and the best way to proceed. As a result of their profound understanding, we then were able to demonstrate solutions for moving the museum. That joint effort proved to be fundamental to this move being successful.”
The combined spirit of this move started right away. After the museum received their moving estimate for services, Steve collaborated with the museum team to pinpoint projects that the museum staff could pack on their own. With Covid-19 restrictions, it meant a reduced number of volunteers and staff that were available to assist. “Enabling them with the right information and resources helped the museum’s team to bring the scope of services with their budget”, stated Wayward. “Our team provided the technical expertise, tools, resources and materials. The museum provided the artifact insights and packing labor for a large part of the move. It worked well, not only keeping the project in line with their budget, but their staff was so knowledgeable, we couldn’t have packed some items any finer. Given the right resources and experienced people in place, you can achieve a lot with a small crew. In the end, by their staff participating, they cut their quote almost in half. They were amazing.”
Subsequent to further discussions, a more casual pace was agreed on. Generally speaking, commercial relocations are completely packed, then relocated to their new destination. Here, packing and then moving specific areas of the museum, piece by piece, proved to be the best method. During the period of 4 weeks, Corrigan had 3 employees on site each day to work alongside the Kingman team. Moving scrupulously throughout the storage areas and exhibits, each area was packed and moved relocated before moving onto the next area.
Brian Stickler, warehouseman for the Corrigan Grand Rapids office, was one of the Corrigan crew members on location for this project. “Generally museums don’t allow you to touch their artifacts, so this was a really unique opportunity. It’s not often you can touch the real taxidermy of a polar bear,” he expressed. “It was also a great chance to admire and handle the items in the museum storage and archives. These were items off exhibit that the general public cannot view.”
The most unforgettable item handled during the relocation: “A saber-tooth tiger from the excavation of the LaBrea Tar Pits,” said Stickler. “It took a few minutes to recognize the best solution to support and cautiously handle it. The skeleton is mounted inside of an open-front case. Our plan was to place book boxes under her for support, and then pad around and underneath its teeth with paper. We then surrounded the case in foam and placed it inside a sofa carton. We used a similar approach for a dire wolf skeleton, and they both transported without a glitch.”
However, not all artifacts were large though. What proved to be one of the most interesting collections to move just so happened to include some of the smallest items. Inside of a storage cabinet laid nearly 20 trays of all sorts of animal eggs. “There were large ostrich eggs all the way down to eggs about the size of a dime. We wore gloves of course, but those were probably some of the most fragile items I’ve ever handled,” noted Stickler.
How do you move such a delicate and fragile collection? “At about 5 mph,” laughed Stickler. “We carefully laid down protective material and cushioning inside the truck. Then we laid each tray of eggs flat inside. There were two crew members in personal cars, one in front of and another behind our semi-truck with their flashers on. We made a processional, going literally 5 mph from the museum to the warehouse storage location. It was tense over every small bump, but every specimen was securely moved.”
From minerals, fossils, rocks, taxidermy, meteorites or everything in between, every single article had to be meticulously cataloged for the museum records. “At the end of the day, that proved to be the predominant challenge of,” recalled Brian. “We created detailed records of every item we moved, what it was packed or wrapped in, and the final location inside of their storage warehouse. Being that the museum is storing all belongings until they find a new location, they have to know the detailed location of each artifact. It was a tiresome job, but we were able to accomplish exactly what the museum needed.”
Once the entire museum’s contents were delivered to the storage facility, Corrigan safeguarded all boxes and artifacts using sheets of plastic. The objective was protecting the goods from moisture, while remaining visible for staff.
At this time, the museum remains closed, the artifacts are in storage until a permanent location is found. “I am confident that when the museum locates a new building, Corrigan will be there,” said Wayward. “I am anxiously looking forward to reconnecting with them again and seeing how the museum can grow and unfold within a new space.”
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