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HAND CRANK COMPACT STORAGE LEADS TO ARTIFACT PRESERVATION AT CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM

The Canadian War Museum, Canada’s national museum of military history, is considered the world’s most respected museum for studying armed conflict.

Tracing all the way back to its origins in 1880, the museum holds more than three million artifacts from around the globe, including rare vehicles, medals, uniforms, artillery, personal memoirs, and 13,000 works in the Beaverbrook Collection of War Art. Their 125th anniversary meant a big change—a new facility to better store and display their large, varied collections.

Located in downtown Ottawa, the new Canadian War Museum would be a 440,000-square-foot building. With artifacts ranging in size from buttons and insignia to tanks and airplanes, the ideal storage solution would need to ensure preservation and accessibility for a wide range of collections.

CUSTOMIZED STORAGE SOLUTIONS FOR SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Even with such a large building, maximizing storage was still a high priority. The collections managers knew that the artifact inventory would only increase, and they wanted to plan for this growth. CWM’s staff reached out to Spacesaver Solutions for help and we happily accepted the challenge.

HAND CRANK COMPACT STORAGE CREATES SPACE IN THE EQUIPMENT VAULT

The transport and artillery collection—also called the Equipment Vault—encompasses everything from tanks and vehicle components to cannons and munitions. To assist with these large, often heavy items, a hand crank compact storage system was installed to maximize space vertically and horizontally.

“Without the mobile system we would have needed a room three times larger.”
– John Corneil, Head of Collections Information, Canadian War Museum

ART RACKS CREATE STORAGE FOR 1,300 PIECES IN THE PAINTINGS VAULT

In order to house a fine art collection of over 1,300 pieces, we installed 90 of Spacesaver’s floor-mounted mobile art racks.  The mobile racks were a good fit for the museum over traditional storage because it offered twice the amount of storage by placing art on each side of the rack. In the case of pieces that were too large to fit on the rack, they could be unframed, removed, and rolled on large diameter tubes to prevent cracking. The tubes were placed on specially designed cantilever shelving with easy access by a crane arm.

HEAVY-DUTY STATIC SHELVING ASSISTS IN SECURE ARMS VAULT

4,000 long arms, 2,000 handguns, body armor, swords, helmets, military models, and thousands of more weapons—the Secure Arms Vault contained many different items varying in size and weight. With all of these items came the need for a very customized storage solution. Several mobile compact storage systems were installed and outfitted with doors, drawers, and additional add-ons that could give added protection to each size of artifact. To accommodate heavier items, wide-span shelving was placed into a mobile system.

HAND CRANK COMPACT STORAGE CREATES VISUAL STORAGE IN DRESS & INSIGNIA VAULT

Inside the Dress & Insignia Vault, high-density mobile storage systems hold toy soldier collectibles previously used for military planning, rolled textiles, regimental and battle flags, and other artifacts of various shapes and sizes. To aid with securely storing these artifacts in one central place, the mobile systems were outfitted with drawers, doors, and static shelving. The organization of this area is so impressive that viewing windows were installed in this vault to allow visitors a look behind the scenes.

HIGHER SECURITY SOLVED FOR LIVING HISTORY VAULT

The Living History vault was a cross-section of all the other vaults in the Museum, but required higher security to the items inside. It was designed as a self-sealing system that compresses against one wall, with a lockable end unit to comply with the Canadian Fire Arms Act.

“I keep coming back to the fact that we would have needed twice the footprint or more without the compact storage, With a good mobile system, your construction costs are down, materials are down, and building maintenance and upkeep costs are lower for many years to come.”
– John Corneil, Head of Collections Information, Canadian War Museum

The combination of storage systems at the Canadian War Museum allowed staff to house their current collection—and plan for future growth.

Want to learn more about how to create maximum capacity and visibility for your collection storage?

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