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Storage and Handling

Proper storage and handling are the first and best means of protection in preserving museum collections. The Alliance has compiled this set of storage and handling resources from amongst its own offerings as well as those throughout the nonprofit and museum sector.

Alliance Resources

Sample Documents

Tier 3 museum members can access a number of sample handling procedures from other museums.

Other Resources

The following resources were compiled from organizations throughout the nonprofit and museum sector. AAM reviewed and approved each one based on the organization’s authority and expertise and the resource’s usefulness related to the topic. Clicking the links below will take you off the AAM website.

Care, Handling and Storage of Photographs

The Library of Congress’ preservation portal includes information on care, handling, and storage of photographs which includes information on identifying photographs, general care and handling, and dealing with condition problems.

Museum Collection Storage

The National Park Service’s (NPS) Museum Handbook (PDF) has a 39-page chapter with a comprehensive review of the 3 components of a collections storage system: the facility or space, the equipment, and the containers for individual objects. It has information about assessing storage needs and planning the space, whether upgrading an existing space or developing a new facility. It also includes illustrations of various storage techniques, an assessment worksheet, and floor plans for proposed collection storage spaces.

Overview of Alternative Space Options for Libraries and Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) shares information about using alternative space for the storage of archival and library materials. These papers discuss underground storage, cold storage vaults, adapted space, and specially built, high-density depository structures where material is stacked very high, expected retrieval is infrequent, and the building is so well insulated that little air conditioning is necessary.

Storage Containers, Supports, and Mounts

The Minnesota Historical Society shares guidelines and standards on storage containers, supports, and mounts (PDF, 8 pages).

Storage Furniture

The Minnesota Historical Society offers guidelines on choosing storage furniture (PDF, 8 pages).

Storage Furniture: A Brief Review of Current Options

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) has a technical leaflet to assist in selecting storage furniture. It discusses materials, finishes, and construction features.

Storage Methods and Handling Practices

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) has a technical leaflet on storage and handling methods for bound books which includes information on proper storage, handling, and marking.

Storage Techniques for Art, Science, and History

The Foundation for the American Institute for Conservation designed STASH to provide tools for institutions of all types, sizes, and resource levels on how to create safe and appropriate storage solutions. These solutions were written by and for collection care professionals in all fields.

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