Of Docks and Doors

As registrars we are all familiar with standards, policies and norms. Recently, I stumbled upon a passage of the German Industrial Norm (DIN) standard DIN EN 15946:2011 for the packing procedures for the transportation of cultural heritage that recommends that the external dimensions of a crate must be smaller than that of the narrowest point which has to be traversed during transport. And that small items should be packaged together if they match and are going to the same destination (you can find the said passage under 5.2.1 “General principles”). My first reaction was an outright:
Later on my colleague Anne T. Lane informed me that this might sound like an order from Captain Obvious but is in fact a very wise one:

Since our university museum loading dock is, of course, impossible for a real truck to back into, we often use the neighboring one belonging to the theater department if a full tractor-trailer has to pick up or drop off a shipment. This means we have to haul our crates out through the gallery and through a series of hallways and more doors. Kevin, one of our preparators, was trying to maneuver a crate out of the museum through the double doors but it kept getting stuck. I came over to help and found it was so tight a fit that I had to depress the push bars on the doors on alternate sides. The crate was a fairly standard one of plywood with exterior framing that divided the sides into panels. As the crate went on by the push bars, they snapped back out again once they passed by the framing boards, so I had to keep going back and forth to depress them again until we finally got the thing through. Since my arms aren’t long enough to span the doorway, we had to keep the crate at just enough of an angle to depress one bar while I went over to the other one. If that crate had been 1/2″ larger, we would have had to take it outside and around the building.
All in a day’s fun.

Text: Anne T. Lane


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