Chapter 9: Functional Planning for Collection Storage

Michael Lundholm, Lundholm Associates, Museum Planning Consultants, 369-401 Richmond Street West, Toronto, Canada, M6P 2T9

The suitability of collection storage and processing spaces is a dominant factor affecting preservation. Planning and designing such spaces involves an extensive list of interrelated considerations derived from preventive conservation.  A methodical approach can help an institution develop facilities that optimize conditions for those collections. This chapter proposes an overall planning methodology and discusses the application of specific considerations for arriving at a clear and defensible definition of spatial needs.

Planning begins with an understanding of the collections to be housed. The categorization of collections by need and delineation and quantification of spaces is the core of the process.  Decisions on formats for each collection type, determination of access criteria, and planning for growth all affect the sizing of spaces.  The qualities of each space also need to be determined in a balanced response to all risks affecting collection preservation.  Peripheral planning considerations such as the placement of work spaces and the linkage with gateway functions must also be integrated.  By reviewing all of these considerations systematically and proposing a logical sequence for their application this chapter facilitates a more coherent and accessible planning process leading to better spaces and ultimately to improved collection care.