Improving Our Collection Storage

Improving Our Collection Storage

Following recommendations from a recent preservation assessment, and with ongoing involvement of preservation, engineering, and facilities management specialists, the Museum developed a comprehensive preservation plan that included installation of environmental controls and reorganization of collection spaces.  In 2010, the Museum successfully raised $90,000 to complete the HVAC project to install environmental controls in 6 collection storage rooms.

The HVAC project, as well as other renovations identified within the preservation plan, is particularly important to the Museum’s Library & Archives. The Library & Archives (L&A) collection has grown at a dramatic rate over the years, becoming one of the greatest aerospace research resources in the world, now the third largest in the United States. However, because of this dramatic growth, archived records are stored in five remote rooms within the main Museum site, and at two off-site locations. This poses a significant problem for retrieval, collection care, and overall security.

The L&A has developed a comprehensive space plan for all of its collection storage areas, which is expected to improve efficiency by over 200%.  In January 2011, the L&A installed customized and mechanically operated shelving in the Film Archives.  The project was funded by two local philanthropic organizations, Las Patronas and The Parker Foundation. The L&A has identified the Archival Collection Room, also known as the Caged-in Area, as the next high priority renovation.

To deal with space limitations and to better organize the collection, the L&A has begun to relocate its collections to consolidate like-materials. As an example, the technical manual collection has been relocated from four locations and consolidated into a single space, currently being inventoried, preserved, and cataloged. Also, the L&A’s blueprint and drawings collection was moved from four locations to the aforementioned Archival Collection Room, the area next planned for renovation.

Through reorganizing and renovating the collection storage areas, the Museum will be able to improve efficiency in preservation, security, and accessibility. The L&A staff have begun a fundraising campaign to raise $100,000 and are pursuing several grant opportunities from local foundations and federal agencies.

 

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