Behind the Scenes
To improve the storage and preservation of museum objects, facilitate access to students and faculty and train future museum professionals in object handling and best museum practices, we recently launched a multi-year Collections Rehousing Project.
Museum objects are housed in collections storage when not in use to ensure long term preservation. Most museums exhibit fewer than 10% of their collections at any given time. Our museum houses approximately 22,000 objects that are used for research, teaching and temporary exhibits. Museum staff are responsible for the long-term care and preservation of these objects so they can be accessed by our campus and community long into the future.
Collections Stewardship in Action
We were one of only eleven museums in Illinois to receive a 2014 Museums for America grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. This collections stewardship grant provides funds to upgrade our collections storage facility.
Upgrading our storage allows us to properly preserve our collection while also demonstrating best practices to museum studies students at NIU. In order to make room for our new compact storage cabinets, we had to temporarily move approximately 3,200 objects out of our collections storage space.
Student Workers and Object Care
To improve the preservation of every unique object in the collection, our staff and student workers are making custom storage mounts before rehousing each object in its new compact storage home. Our student workers have been trained to design and build custom storage mounts for museum objects.
Investing in the Future
Through the generous support of the James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati Endowment, we were able to provide the required matching funds to receive its federal grant award for new collections storage cabinets. Without this support, it would be impossible for us to secure grants and complete important projects that ensure the long-term preservation and safety of the collection.
In addition to supporting preservation efforts at the Pick Museum, the Collections Rehousing Project will also help our staff to facilitate greater collections access to our campus and community. Upon completion of the project, our staff will be able to safely retrieve objects from around the world for student, faculty and community research.
Stay Involved and Learn More
If you would like to see the Pick Museum’s renovated collections storage space and get a firsthand look at the improvements made during the Collections Rehousing Project, stay connected with the project by following us on Facebook or by booking a tour.