4 Reasons Your Collection Needs Mobile Art Racks

By Stuffey | January 5, 2020

Museums and galleries build their reputations on their collections’ quality and quantity. Yet floor space can be limited. Mobile art racks offer an efficient, cost-effective way to improve organization and access while protecting and preserving the collection and gaining space.

Determining the amount of space needed for museum or gallery storage is often daunting. The organizational need varies. Collections are typically stored:

  • in cabinets, on top of those cabinets, on the floor, and throughout the building on multipurpose shelving
  • centralized, but the challenge is accounting for objects of so many different sizes and types
  • centralized, yet the collection continues to grow, and overcrowding has become an issue.

Regardless of the storage scenario, the priorities remain similar. Those in charge of collection storage planning want to provide adequate access, allow for safe movement of collection items, protect collection, and enable efficient workflow for employees. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a storage layout that works for both your collection and your people, without sacrificing collection care and preservation. Mobile Art Racks can play an integral role.

Advantages of Mobile Art Racks

There are many mobile art rack options for storing two-dimensional art collections. Consider these benefits and practical examples of the racks in action around the country.

Featuring double-sided mesh screens flush to the art rack frame, these mobile storage systems provide added capacity and let you preserve precious floor space. Floor-mounted mobile art rack systems offer limitless hanging arrangement options to store the same number of items as conventional pull-out racks in almost half the space. The wheel sections on the mobile bases (which are equipped with in-rail anti-tip devices) can also be nested to further maximize storage density.

A high-density mobile system can eliminate wasted space and idle aisles and compress storage of materials in a more compact footprint. At the same time, 100% access is guaranteed with the systems putting all stored materials face out for superior organization. Reclaim room in your storage area for collaborative or work space, or even a behind-the-scenes restoration or conservation exhibit.

The Filson Historical Society, celebrating the history of Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, in 2016 built a new museum with high-density compact museum shelving on four of its five floors. “Once the new shelving went in, we were able to zone everything the way we wanted it,” said Curator of Collections Jim Holmberg. “Having a blank slate with all that empty shelving has really helped us do some nice organization.” It’s 5,100 square feet of art racks accommodate a growing collection of portraits, paintings and other artwork.

The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is a $170 million, 130,000-square-foot museum shaped like a bathtub. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, is all protrusions. So too is the angular Royal Ontario Museum’s extension in Toronto, Canada. With the architecture of the buildings themselves contributing to a museum’s “wow” factor, it’s not surprising that many organizations confront odd layouts for their storage spaces.

Mobile art racks can be engineered-to-order to adapt to the oddest angles or accommodate building features that create obstacles in storing the collection. Pivoting art racks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, for instance, are wide and sturdy enough to support and store large and heavy frames. In addition, the racks serve as a work surface for conservators and restorers. They can simply push the caster-rolling racks flat against the wall when they’re not in use.

Offering the same protective benefits of traditional art racks, Hang-Glider Pro Art Storage Panel Systems are one of the many mobile art rack options. This ceiling-suspended pull-out storage is space-efficient as well as safe and easy to use. An anti-sway guide helps protect stored material while a deceleration device slows panel motion during the last 15 inches of movement in either direction.

At Columbus State University’s Bo Bartlett Center, the storage area measures just 518 square feet for a center that is more than 14,000 square feet. Fortunately, the ceilings are 23 feet high. They rely on art racks mounted on upper walls and reached by a man-aboard lift, as well as a manual assist high-density art storage system in the center of the room.

“Having space-saving units gave us the capacity we needed in a relatively small footprint,” said Center Executive Director David Houston. “It allowed us to store both our permanent pieces (which are few) and then bring the changing exhibitions in and out, keep them safely off the floor and locked away out of the public view.”

Constructed of steel for durability, Spacesaver mobile art racks are build to be sturdy too. Whether its a high-density mobile art rack (manual, mechanical-assist or powered), pivot or ceiling-supported pullout art rack, these storage systems are built to last, while protecting framed art and cultural artifacts that have lasted for centuries already.

Mobile art racks are also a good fit with other modular art storage pieces as needs change and expand. When the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at the Ohio State University in Columbus expand from 6,000 sq. ft. To 30,0000 sq. ft. It incorporated mobile storage with cantilever and 4-post shelving, modular drawers, customized pull-out art displays and Mayline plan files.

“I am unabashedly biased, but I think it’s a wonderful place,” Assistant Curator Susan Liberator said of the newly renovated space.

Key Takeaway

With mobile art racks offering reclaiming your space, flexibly preserving the collection, and keep it safe in a build-to-last, cost-effective way, we’re surprised there isn’t a museum of art racks themselves! Oh well, while we’re waiting for that, your visitors can keep coming back to see the latest, greatest finds and witness the curator’s creativity in pulling together exhibits or shows. Meanwhile, with mobile art storage your museum or gallery personnel don’t have to work so hard just to locate and safely store your collection.

Spacesaver Mobile Art Racks can be ceiling-supported or floor-mounted using manual or powered high density mobile systems. Consult with a Patterson Pope expert today!


About Stuffey

To say that Stuffey was made for this role would be an understatement. A life long hoarder, Stuffey understands how the Laws of Stuff can wreak havoc in the real world of an organization’s space. Now as part of his reformation, he is committed to passing on to you his secrets in our battle against the tyranny of STUFF.

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