Some say museum people are natural hunter-gatherers. While this may be true, it’s also true that museums always lack storage space. That’s especially a tough one for the collections manager: while the thrifty side of his or her personality wants to keep everything in case it is needed someday in the future, the logistic side tells him or her that you just can’t keep everything because you will run out of moving space, soon.
A common issue are special built crates. Made for a special purpose, i.e. letting a certain object or set of objects travel to a distant location, they are clogging space after completion of this task. Too bulky or unsuitable for longterm storage and no matter how hard you try, it seems that there is never a travel request for an object with exactly those dimensions…
There are many possibilities what can be done with used crates. Offer them to other museums is a great one, for example. Here’s another that is quite comfy: A bench made from a crate originally built for a couple of model ships.
We’re big fans of reusing gallery furniture for improvements elsewhere on the campus. We try and reuse as much material as possible.
“If it’s free, it’s for me” like my Mom used to say!
Just reading Sarah Sutton’s new book on sustainability in museums and thought… Wouldn’t it be great if a museum actually made gallery furniture out of crates like this? They could rotate them in and out of public areas as the crates are needed.
That would be awesome, Janice!
I remember “my” museum reused the exhibit architecture of an exhibition on genetics for the next exhibition about coffee in 1999. It involved a lot of carpentry and paint jobs but was awesome. Of course it doesn’t save that much money because you need creativity and manpower, but it sure saved natural resources!