Recently, Collections and Conservation staff spent some time in two of our more unusual storage locations, in order to improve the conditions of artefacts there.
Due to overcrowding in TMM’s climate-controlled collection storage areas, there are artefacts located in less than ideal conditions. Staff worked on several artefacts in these areas, cataloguing, condition reporting, photographing and finally covering them up with polyethylene after a good vacuuming.
The most important factors in deciding to place these objects here are the materials of which they are made (least sensitive to environmental changes or extremes), robustness of the artefacts, and their size – sometimes there just isn’t room in the other storage areas.
The Manitoba Museum is not unique in having to store collection objects in areas where there is little climate control. It is, of course, incumbent upon us to do the best we can in these kinds of spaces. Although covering the objects with plastic does reduce visibility, and hence the ability to spot detrimental changes in condition such as corrosion, that is offset by the protection against dust, which can be damaging in some cases, as well as disfiguring. Having observed the conditions in these spaces, we know the risk of dust falling on the objects is certain, whereas we’ve not encountered the high humidity that would initiate rust.
We always strive to improve the care of our collections wherever we can. All in all, although these storage spaces are not great, the artefacts are now better protected, as well as better documented.