Person with short hear in front of a wall covered in papers​​​​​​​Museum & Archive Storage Planning Guide
​​​​​​​Determining Needs

Assess Storage Space & Resources

  • Decide on the function and requirements of your storage space.
    • Is this space used strictly for storage?
    • Does this space also function as a work space for conservation work? 
    • Do you provide behind-the-exhibit tours to visitors? 
  • Determine your storage standards. 
    • What basic standards should your furniture meet?
    • Do your storage choices need to accommodate your housekeeping and pest control requirements?
    • Do you need bases that lift cabinets and other furniture off the floor?
    • When purchasing new storage furniture, you should look for items made from powder-coated steel or anodized aluminum. 
    • Wood furniture off-gasses so it should be avoided.
  • Understand your space limitations. 
    • ​​​​​​​Unlike outer space, museum storage space is finite. 
    • Creating a scale drawing of your storage space will aid in determining what you have space to add and what you'll need to rearrange. 
    • It's recommended to avoid placing cabinets and shelves against exterior walls.
  • Budget. Budget. Budget. 
    • ​​​​​​​Planning your storage project in phases will allow you to make improvements as you go. 
    • There are costs associated with purchasing storage furniture beyond just the furniture itself. You’ll want to figure out your budget, keeping in mind that there may be other costs such as shipping and installation.

Bundles of paper documents tied together with fabric on a shelving unit​​​​​​​​​​​​Assess the Items to Store

  • ​​​​​​Review the objects in your collection. 
    • ​​​​​​​The items that make up your collection will drive what storage solution will be the best choice.
    • Different collection types have different storage requirements.
  • Determine frequency and accessibility needs. 
    • ​​​​​​​How often will you need to access the stored objects? 
    • Does your collection need to be visually accessible for assessment? 
    • Do you often rotate items in and out of exhibitions?
    • Who needs access to this collection?
    • Does this collection require security?
    • Should access to this collection be limited?
  • ​​​​​​​Plan for the future. ​​​​​​​
    • You aren't just planning for current collections, but future ones as well. 
    • Consider the frequency and type of collections your museum or archive receives.