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

Tracing back to its origins in 1880, the museum holds more than three million artifacts from around the globe. This includes rare vehicles, medals, uniforms, artillery, personal memoirs, and 13,000 works in the Beaverbrook Collection of War Art.

For their 125th anniversary, the museum celebrated with a new facility to better store and display their collections. The new Canadian War Museum would be 440,000 square-feet and would feature artifacts ranging in size from buttons to airplanes. The ideal storage solution would need to ensure preservation and accessibility for a wide range of collections.

Custom Storage Solutions For Special Collections

Even with such a large building, maximizing storage was still a high priority. The Collections Managers knew the artifact inventory would increase, and they wanted to plan for this growth so they reached out to the Storage Experts for help.

Hand Crank Compact Storage Creates Space in the Equipment Vault

The Equipment Vault holds everything from tanks and vehicle components to cannons and munitions. To store these large, heavy items, we installed a hand crank compact storage system to maximize space.

“Without the mobile system we would have needed a room three times larger.”

- John Corneil

Head of Collections Information, Canadian War Museum

Art Rack Storage for 1,300 Pieces in the Paintings Vault

We installed 90 floor-mounted, mobile art racks to store a fine art collection for over 1,300 pieces. The mobile art racks offer twice the amount of storage as traditional shelving by placing art on each side of the rack. Pieces that were too large to fit on the rack were unframed, removed, and rolled on large diameter tubes to prevent cracking. The tubes were then placed on specially designed cantilever shelving with easy access by a crane arm.

Heavy Duty Static Shelving in Secure Arms Vault

The Secure Arms Vault stores 4,000 long arms, 2,000 handguns, body armour, swords, helmets, military models, and thousands of weapons in different sizes and weight. Storing all these items needs a very customized storage solution. Our Storage Experts designed a compact mobile storage system with doors, drawers, and other features to give added protection to each artifact. Wide span shelving was also placed into a mobile system to accommodate heavier items.

Visual Storage in Dress and Insignia Vault

Inside the Dress and Insignia Vault, we installed high density mobile storage systems. These systems hold military planning toy soldiers, rolled textiles, regimental and battle flags, and other artifacts of various shapes and sizes. To securely store these artifacts in one central place, the mobile systems feature drawers, doors, and static shelving. The organization of this area is so impressive that windows were installed in the vault to let visitors get a peak behind the scenes.

Higher Security for Living History Vault

Lastly, the Living History vault is a cross-section of all the other vaults in the Museum. It requires higher security for the items inside so we designed a self-sealing system. It compresses against one wall and features a lockable end unit that complies 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

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