- Carefully pack, move and deliver all contents and collections of the Kingman Museum to a climate-controlled warehouse for extended storage
- Limited crew and volunteers capable to assist due to coronavirus restrictions
- Systematically catalog each item throughout move process
- Safely guard and relocate museum collections
- Make certain all items are appropriately protected for extended storage
- Engage with museum authorities to guarantee pieces are relocated in the best possible way
- Adaptable packing and crating for unique, rare, fine and valuable museum artifacts
- Relocation of all artifacts to storage warehouse owned by the museum
- Isolate items from any dampness or unacceptable situation while in storage
“You have to speak the language of your customer,” said Steve Wayward, while recalling his experience working with the Kingman Museum. “They approached Corrigan when they decided to relocate their entire museum. They heard of our reputation, and that we’ve provided successful relocations for other museums in the area. After speaking with their team, I knew what we could do for them, and I am certain they knew instantly, as well. Sometimes it is that first interaction that tells you the relationship is a good fit. In this particular case, it was.”
As the Director of Commercial Sales, Steve has participated in his fair share of museum moves, however, this museum move amounted to being a bit different from most previous projects. “They possess an incredibly eclectic collection,” explained Wayward. “There is anything and everything from Native American relics to taxidermy. Having such a broad range of artifacts proved to be a fascinating challenge for our team, so we had to undoubtedly collaborate with the experts at the museum. They know their artifacts better than anyone, and this was certainly an occasion where we relied on them for their expertise and the best way to proceed. Given their intimate understanding, we were able to demonstrate solutions for moving the museum. That joint effort proved to be crucial to this move being a success.”
The collaborative spirit of this project started right away. After the museum was presented with the moving quote for services, Steve worked directly with the museum team to pinpoint areas that the museum staff could pack on their own. However, with Covid-19 restrictions in place, it meant a smaller than average number of volunteers and employees were available to help complete the project. “Inspiring them with the right information and materials helped the museum’s team to align the scope of services with their budget”, stated Wayward. “We provided the technical direction, tools, resources and materials. They provided the artifact experts and packing labor for a good amount of the museum move. Everything worked well, not only keep them in line with their budget, but the staff was so well-rounded, we couldn’t have packed some items any better. Given the right resources and professional people in place, you can achieve so much with a small crew. Actually, by their staff assisting, they cut their quote almost in half. They were amazing.”
Subsequent to further collaboration, a more casual method was agreed upon. Many times, commercial jobs are completely packed, then transported to their assigned destination. In this case, packing and then relocating specific areas of the museum, in sections, proved to be the best strategy. During the period of 4 weeks, Corrigan had 3 employees on site each day to work alongside the Kingman team. Moving strategically through the storage areas and exhibits, each section 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 teammates on site for this project. “Most museums don’t permit you to touch their artifacts, so this was a really neat opportunity. It’s not common that you can touch a real taxidermy of a polar bear,” he expressed. “It was also a fun experience to admire and handle the items in the museum storage and archives. These items were off exhibit that the general public cannot view.”
The most noteworthy item handled during the relocation: “A saber-tooth tiger from the original excavation of the LaBrea Tar Pits,” said Stickler. “It took a few minutes to recognize the most favorable solution to support and cautiously handle it. Its skeleton is mounted inside of an open-front case. We decided to place book boxes under him for support, and then pad around and underneath its teeth with paper. We then surrounded the case in foam and placed it inside of a sofa carton. We used the same approach for the dire wolf skeleton, they both were moved without a glitch.”
However, not all artifacts were large though. What amounted to be one of the biggest challenges collections to move included some of the smallest items. Inside of a storage cabinet laid approximately 20 trays of various animal eggs. “There were large ostrich eggs in addition to eggs about the size of a dime. We had to wear gloves of course, but those were probably some of the most fragile items I have ever moved,” explained Stickler.
How is it that you move such a unique collection? “At about 5 mph,” laughed Stickler. “We carefully laid down protective material and cushioning inside the truck. Then we placed each tray of eggs flat inside. There were two crew members in personal vehicles, one in front of and another behind the semi-truck with their flashers on. Similar to a processional, traveling literally 5 miles an hour from the museum to their warehouse storage location. I was white-knuckled over every small bump, but every single specimen was securely moved.”
Whether it was minerals, fossils, rocks, taxidermy, meteorites and everything along the way, each and every article had to be accurately organized for the museum records. “At the end of the day, that proved to be the biggest challenge of,” recalled Stickler. “We created detailed records of every item we moved, what it was packed or wrapped in, and the final location inside of the storage warehouse. Because the museum is storing all belongings until they find a new location, they have to know the exact location of each artifact. It was a tiresome task, but we were able to accomplish exactly what the museum required.”
Once the entire museum’s contents were settled into the storage facility, Corrigan protected all boxes and artifacts with sheets of plastic. The objective was protecting the items from moisture, with visibility for staff.
The museum remains closed, with the artifacts in storage until a permanent location is determined. “I’m fairly certain that when the museum locates a new building, Corrigan will be there,” said Steve. “I am anxiously looking forward to working with them again and seeing how the museum can expand and unfold within a new space.”