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Subject: Storage strategy

Storage strategy

From: Jim Lindner <vidipax>
Date: Monday, October 23, 1995
Marsha Maguire <marsham [at] vnw__com> writes

>If you were starting a museum from the ground up, would you store
>your collection on- or offsite?

I have seen many vaults both on and off site, and I think that in
most situations on-site is preferable..... *providing* that the job
is done correctly.  In many cases the storage facility is the last
thing considered in the building, or has the lowest priority, and is
designed by architects with no real experience.  I could regale you
with stories about buildings where the HVAC system could not
accommodate the lower temperatures and RH required in these areas
and could not be controlled with precision.  The most successful
efforts have been dedicated buildings that can handle the
specialized requirements of the systems to do the job properly, and
few institutions have the financial resources.  That is not to say
that one could not do it properly by having a section of a new
structure being built properly with the proper systems (The new
national archives at college point is a fine example of what can be
done).... it is just that it would be extremely *rare* for that to

My caution with off-site is that there are only a few storage
facilities that really have proper systems.  What they sell, and the
reality are often shockingly different.  I have been in a cold room
of a major storage facility during a snow storm and the temperature
in the vault was in the 80's.  If that were not bad enough... the
temperature chart recorder read a perfect 68 because it had been
tampered with. There are many other stories, but the basic problem
is that it is unlikely that the storage facility cares about your
material as much as you do.  There are several exceptions to this
general rule, and there are several fine facilities run by vendors,
but these few and far between.

My recommendation is to use architects that have done this type of
work (specifically) before, and even if they have, retain an outside
consultant for this specific aspect of the project.  Your money will
be extremely well spent, and most of the consultants can actually
save money on the project relative to their fees because they know
where to go and what to buy, and what really works in the real

Jim Lindner
The Magnetic Media Restoration Company

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:37
                Distributed: Thursday, October 26, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-37-003
Received on Monday, 23 October, 1995

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