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The 9 critical elements of fine art storage best practices

In 2008, in response to the wide variability he was seeing in the market, Bob Crozier set out to record the factors that contributed to high-quality fine art storage. This knowledge was culled from his decades of experience building and providing storage for museums, galleries and private collections.

The final output, his comprehensive document entitled “The Commercial Fine Art Storage Best Practices” is framed within 9 key areas for consideration and is used today by collections managers when evaluating storage choices. Here is an overview of those areas:

Facility

The type of building and how its location and construction affect the objects housed within.

Security

Beyond simple alarm systems; what are the protocols in place to assure a secure facility?

Fire

From prevention to detection and response, what is the plan in event of fire, one of the most common threats to a collection?

Climate

How is the climate of the facility controlled and monitored and what safeguards are in place to assure a stable environment for your objects?

Water

Water and art do not mix well. What practices does your provider have in place to prevent water damage, detect water leaks and protect items in case of incoming water?

Infestation

How does your provider employ to keep art-damaging insects from entering the building? What is done to if infestation is found?

Inventory

At Crozier we estimate that a 5,000 square foot facility has 10,000 objects. That’s a lot to keep track of. How is inventory managed, updated and documented? How is that information backed up in case of disaster or system outage?

Human Resources

Background checks are a must, but what is the number one threat to artwork? It is not theft or fire, it’s mishandling.  How does your provider train and manage staff to assure quality art handling?

Emergency Planning

Even the most well-conceived, perfectly managed facility can experience a perilous event. What resources are in place to respond and is staff prepared to act quickly when the need arises?