A museum exhibit is being crated and moved.

Expert Strategies for Safe Museum Relocation

Moving High Value And Museum Exhibit Relocation

Because each item is typically one of a kind, and many pieces are antique or hold specific cultural, historical, or scientific significance, museum moves have pretty high stakes.

For a museum move, the relocation plan affects how the move is planned. In some cases, an entire museum moves to a different location, such as a newly built facility with more room to expand. More commonly, exhibits are designed to be moved from site to site to bring specific art or artifacts to new audiences around the world. A single exhibit may travel to dozens of cities before returning to the original site, where the artifacts are typically on permanent display.

Regarding moving museum exhibits, careful planning smoothes the way to a successful relocation. Using a company with expertise in packing and transporting artifacts, art, and entire exhibits ensures safe, efficient transport so your exhibit is ready to receive visitors on opening day.

Importance of Expertise in Moving Rare Artifacts

Museums house artifacts with unique cultural and historical significance. While some pieces are considered high-dollar items with a specific monetary value attached, the fact that replacement is usually impossible makes them priceless.

While there's always a risk when moving museum exhibits, well-planned museum relocation strategies can help prevent potential damage or loss. Some things to consider during a move involving rare artifacts include:

  • Keeping a detailed inventory of the items being moved, including which boxes contain which items and where the artifacts are during each stage.
  • Handling artifacts properly during the move, including crating the pieces properly in custom crates designed for each item and enacting security measures to prevent theft as well as damage.
  • Determine if storage is needed in case prior exhibits need to vacate your space before your new exhibit is set up.
  • Storing and transporting items in safe, appropriate conditions. This might include using climate-controlled and humidity-controlled transport and storage facilities.

Hiring professionals experienced at ensuring artifact safety during transit offers peace of mind when you're amidst a major museum move.

Museum Relocation Strategies

Before executing a museum relocation, you need strategies in place for assessing the items taking part in the move and managing artifacts during transitions.

A thorough pre-move assessment ensures that everything is accounted for and that the condition of each item is known before packing and transport. Establish an inventory management system to track items during the packing process so you can easily account for each artifact or piece of artwork once you unpack at your destination. This process is usually meticulous and detailed. It's not enough to know that you have a box of arrowheads or coins recovered from a historical shipwreck. Each item must be counted and inventoried before being shipped.

An effective museum move requires coordination between various stakeholders. This includes keeping museum staff, transportation professionals, and insurance companies appraised of the details of the move.

You may want to use a phased approach to relocation to reduce disruption to normal museum operations. Moving parts of an exhibit at a time lets you focus on one section or room at a time. You also need to set up the physical framework for the display before unpacking the actual artifacts. Shelving, display cases, lighting, and exhibit security should be assembled and placed into position before unpacking the display pieces.

One of the biggest choices you need to make when planning a museum relocation is your logistics partner. Choose a company with expertise handling valuable artifacts, shipping antiques, and keeping collectibles safe.

Cultural Heritage Preservation During Moves

Because museum artifacts have cultural significance, preserving the artistic aspects of these items is paramount during a move. Some things to consider during this type of move include:

Focusing on conservation and documentation of each item. Knowing the condition of each piece and shipping antiques and artifacts with the idea of reducing any impacts on their cultural significance helps you maintain the integrity of your exhibit. Some items may need special conservation treatment or cleaning before the move.

Technology can be used to record data about each item before transport so you can compare details and photographs at the destination. This may be especially important for items or exhibits that need to be disassembled before the move and reassembled at the new location.

Plan how to handle large-scale and sensitive exhibits. These may require special care during the packing, transporting, and unpacking. Items belonging to a larger exhibit should be kept together as much as possible.

Managing Artifacts during Museum Moves

Important steps to take while managing artifacts during the move include:

  • 1. Create a detailed schedule for the move, including when the exhibits should be disassembled and packed, the transport timeline, and when everything should be reassembled.
  • 2. Catalog all items to be relocated. This might include shelving and display cases and the actual artifacts and artwork. High value items being shipped may require specific documentation for insurance purposes.
  • 3. Assess the destination beforehand to ensure a smooth reinstallation on that end. You may need to adjust the exhibit layout based on the new space, or you may want to adjust the space to suit your incoming exhibit better.
  • 4. Stay flexible and create contingency plans for any unexpected challenges that might arise. Shipping artwork and artifacts overseas may involve delays at the border or additional paperwork. When you're on a deadline, these types of delays can be stressful. Hiring a moving company familiar with international shipping requirements helps reduce the stress of unexpected slowdowns in the process.

The Final Word on Moving Museum Exhibits

Careful planning and expert help make all the difference when planning museum moves. Partnering with an experienced company provides reassurance that sensitive artifacts and exhibits are packed and transported properly.

Call (866) 333-8018 to find out more about how Ship Smart can help you plan a museum relocation, whether you're sending a few pieces to a museum across the country or setting up a traveling exhibit intended to be shown at locations around the world.

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