Friday, March 28, 2008

The Ships Have Set Sail

It took less than a week, but our model ship collection has now been packed and "shipped" off site to our temporary storage space in preparation for our July closing and renovation.

As anyone who visited us last week noticed, the downstairs hallway seemed like a construction zone with large "slat crates," cardboard storage bins, piles of twill tape, sheets of plastic, and a myriad of tools littering the tight space our ships have occupied for so long.

Up to four packers worked diligently with our Registrarial staff to carefully remove each fragile ship from its glass case and place it in its crate or bin for travel. Once in its container, the packers strapped each ship down with a variety of archival fabric tapes, being sure to secure the ships in their most solid and stable areas. The delicate masts, sails, and rigging were supported where necessary and, in the case of Flying Cloud, which sits on a "sea surface" of glass, a bed of foam was inserted beneath to provide extra stability.

Once each ship was secure, its container was tightly sealed in plastic and then loaded onto the truck, with its smooth, air-ride suspension, for its trip off site. I visited our off site storage space after all the ships had arrived to run an eye over everything. I was pleased, and relieved, to see that each ship made it there without incident.

But this is just the beginning. While the ships represent, volume-wise, a significant portion of our collection, numerically, it is only a tiny fraction of the thousands of other collection objects we still need to pack and move. It will take months to accomplish our task, but we're happy to know that the ships, thankfully, have made a safe voyage.

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

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