As water leaked through ceiling tiles and down attic walls full of artwork, a malfunctioning air conditioning unit went undiscovered for days. In an offsite storage unit, mold spores flourished and bloomed atop canvases whose owners believed them to be tucked away safe and sound. In a garage on a hot July day, photographs in a cherished family photo album faded and warped from moisture and temperature fluctuations.
At The Center, each day confronts us with new challenges that urge us to adapt and learn new treatments and approaches for the variety of mediums and disrepairs that come our way. This being said, over the 33+ years we’ve been in business, one of the most common damages we continue to encounter spurs from incorrect storage.
There is no denying owning artwork and valuables is more than a hobby; for some, it is a way of life. More often than not, most collectors love to live with and keep the artwork they collect close, allowing them to interact with it daily. However, this is not always possible - construction, disasters, home renovations, relocations, and more can cause a need for the artwork we enjoy to be placed into storage. Regardless if the storage need is short or long term, finding an alternative home for your collection can be daunting. Whether it’s a large corporate collection or a single family heirloom, when it comes to selecting the appropriate storage facility knowledge is key.
Whether you store your collection with us or someone else that you trust, there are certain factors you should always consider:
Temperature and Environment
One of the most important needs for safely storing artwork is a fully climate controlled facility. Monitoring temperature and humidity is key to ensuring the longevity of artwork, so be sure the facility you select for storage is fully climate controlled. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause detrimental results to artwork, and also foster environments where mold spores and infestations can grow.
Security and Planning
Oftentimes, as art owners we forget that the facility we choose to store our artwork in is not immune to disasters itself. You should never be afraid to inquire about a storage facility’s plans in case of fire, flood, outages, and infestation.
Access and Caretakers
It is important to always feel comfortable with the team who will be handling your collection while it is outside of your care - the involvement of professional art handlers is a necessity. If you'd like periodic access to your collection while it's in storage, be sure the facility you're using will accommodate this. If possible, storing your collection with a team of professionals that are equipped to inspect the pieces for potential damages upon receiving is also an extra layer of precaution. You'll also want to be sure the company has a secure internal database so your information is kept safe and your pieces are documented and monitored correctly.
Materials and Monitoring
Prior to items entering storage, they should be wrapped using archival materials. Archival materials do not degrade over time, and allow items to be stored for extended periods of time without loss of quality. Oftentimes storage units that do not specialize in the long-term preservation of artwork can (unknowingly) place the artwork in close proximity to degradation products or off-gassing materials, which can cause damage to works of art. Framed works should be stored installed on a wall or vertically on racks (never on the ground).
We are pleased to announce the acquisition of two additional storage facilities, located just blocks from our 400 N. Wolcott main location. With the addition of these spaces, we have also expanded our shipping and art handling team to meet the growing demand of our clients’ public, private, and commercial collections.
Should you like advice on a storage decision for your collection, please know that we are always happy to help. If you are interested in our storage services, we're happy to answer any questions you may have.
- 33+ Years in the Industry
- 35,000 Square Foot Facility
- Fully Climate and Temperature Controlled
- 20 Foot Ceilings
- Ability to Store Large Works
- Multiple Loading Bays
- Digital Inventory System with Barcode Scanners
- Emergency Generator
- State-of-the-Art Security System Reporting Directly to a Central Station
- Collections Stored in Close Proximity to Expert Conservators
- Artwork Handled Only By Experienced Art Handlers
- Direct Links to the Fire Department
- High Resolution Cameras in All Spaces