Combined Dry Collections using Mobile Storage Systems

Cindy Ramotnik ramotnik at UNM.EDU
Fri Feb 7 15:14:56 CST 1997

When museums outgrow the amount of space dedicated to research
collections, many look to mobile storage systems (compactors) as a
possible solution. During the decison-making process, it is important to
consider the unique storage and environmental needs of the different
collections and, thus, store those with similar requirements together. For
example, the wet and dry portions of mammal collections are traditionally
stored in separate rooms whereas mammal and bird skins are sometimes
stored in the same room because of similar storage requirements. I would
like to know if anyone has consolidated their entire dry collections from
a variety of divisions (e.g., plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates)
using separate compactors in one room, and if this arrangement was
satisfactory to museum staff from the various divisions. It seems likely
that the arrangement can increase encounters and cooperation between
divisions but it might potentially create friction due to the unique
procedures of the individual divisions.  Specifically I would like to hear
about the pros and cons of this arrangement in regard to noise, traffic,
privacy, visitors, security, and special equipment needs. And finally, if
you had 20/20 hindsight, would you make the same decision or would you
separate the various collections?

Cindy Ramotnik
Collections Manager
U.S. Geological Survey
Biological Resources Division
Department of Biology
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

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