RESCUING WATER-DAMAGED TEXTILES DURING THE LOS ANGELES RIOTS
2 OFF-SITE STORAGE FOR THE COSTUME AND TEXTILE STUDY COLLECTION
Even with the best of planning, museums can outgrow their storage facilities. Planning for growth requires a museum staff to estimate how many artifacts will be acquired over a specified period. They must constantly anticipate the day when storage needs will exceed the space available. To accommodate these needs, museums have several choices: they can limit acquisitions, convert other areas into storage, expand by building on the present site, or acquire storage space off site.
Currently, a portion of LACMA's costume and textile study collection is housed off site in a building previously used for other purposes. The building was selected based on several criteria: location, security, environmental control, accessibility for loading, and cost. A number of museum departments working together, including conservation, developed guidelines for the safe storage of artifacts off site. They include the following:
- Both curators and conservators must approve in writing what can be moved to off-site storage. Conservators, art handlers, and registrars advise on the method of storage at the site.
- The storage team is responsible for moving objects and for keeping the record of artifacts' location changes current.
- All artworks going to off-site storage must be crated before delivery. In some instances it may be necessary to deliver the artworks to the storage area and construct the crates there. Crates should be waterproof.
- Crates should always be labeled with stickers, either “full” or “empty.” All full crates must be labeled on the outside with the artist's name, title of the work, and material, along with a photograph of the object. Crates must be at least 2 feet off the floor.
- Off site, the areas designated for art storage must be cleaned once a week and have good lighting. All aisles must remain clear. A ladder should be available along with other useful tools, such as tape measures and a flash-light.
- Temperature and humidity should be continuously monitored by a recording hygrothermograph, with new charts installed at appropriate intervals. Any unusual change in temperature or humidity must be addressed promptly.