Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Collection Is Home, Safe and Sound

It has been a long six months watching the cranes outside lift huge structural beams and crates of glass atop our museum for our roof replacement project. But it did provide us with an opportunity to finish another project we had as a result of our renovations: the movement of the permanent collection. In earlier blog posts (click here and here), I wrote about the challenges of packing and moving our art collection off site in 2008 in preparation for handing our building over to contractors. Now, some three years later, the collection has finally returned.

Though a small fraction of the collection was brought back for our fall 2010 opening, the bulk of it remained off site. With our renovated storage areas ready to receive artwork (see right), we started transporting the collection back in early April. Each week, I’d drive down to FAE, Boston, where our artwork was being stored, oversee the truck being loaded, and follow the truck back to the museum. We would then offload at our new loading dock. Bringing the objects into the museum was far simpler than moving out, as everything had to be loaded on the trucks in 2008 from ground level using the truck’s lift gate. And, of course, we had left most everything packed from when we moved out, so repacking things for this trip was kept to a minimum.

It took twenty-six truck loads to bring our nearly 17,000 objects back to the museum (see left, one of our emptied storage areas at FAE). My colleagues and I then had to carefully unpack and inventory each and every object, properly store it, and update its location on the database. Depending on the size and type of the objects, some truckloads could bring back hundreds of objects, some only a couple of dozen. Thankfully, with the exception of two large outdoor sculptures that simply won’t fit through our doors, our new storage areas absorbed everything with ample room for growth.

Now, the new glass roof crowning our original Platt building is complete, artwork is being hung on the gallery walls again, and we’re set to reopen to the public Saturday, October 8th. For me, however, I can rest easy knowing that the Addison’s collection is finally home again, safe, sound, and dry, within the museum’s walls.

Posted by:

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

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