Permanent Art Collection Storage gets an Upgrade at Rockford Art Museum

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With a competitive grant award from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Rockford Art Museum can now upgrade the storage equipment used to store their collection thanks to Bradford Systems Corporation.

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"[We need to] access the art individually without disturbance to other works, and allow the staff to work on upcoming display arrangements within the safe confines of the collection storage vault.”

Rockford Art Museum’s art collection storage gets an upgrade thanks to the State of Illinois and Bradford Systems Corporation. Last December, the Illinois Jobs Now! Capital Program announced the availability of $20 million for Illinois museum improvements, and the grants could be applied for through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The team at Rockford Art Museum got to work immediately; part of the museum's ongoing improvement program included an assessment of their collection inventory and the facility to house these precious works of art for the long-term. While their facility’s vault provides a safe environment for the works — the manner in which the work is stored needed some improvement and organization.

Carrie Johnson, the museum’s curator, identified a need to “access the art individually without disturbance to other works, and allow the staff to work on upcoming display arrangements within the safe confines of the collection storage vault.”

Another consideration was the museum’s ongoing passion for growing their collection, which began in 1913. Part of the success of Rockford Art Museum over the years has been its ability to provide the Midwest with an ever-changing and evolving collection of art. Any new solution to hold the collection needed to provide ample room for growth in the coming years.

“We had an idea that there may be a solution to our problem that didn’t include expanding our vault-size, but we didn’t know exactly how to approach it,” says Linda Dennis, Executive Director of the museum. “Our working spaces are limited, to avail more space for the gallery areas — We didn’t want any solution that made our patrons see less, or constrained our staff to work in smaller spaces.”

For such an endeavor, the museum went through an exhaustive specification and bid process through the Rockford Park District, thus ensuring the right solutions are identified and properly acquired – Bradford's solution was identified as the perfect choice for the needs of the collection. Bradford Systems Corporation had been in contact with the Rockford Art Museum over the years to offer solutions in this capacity so they were one of the resources the museum looked to when this project became a reality. Bradford spent a lot of time calculating the current collection and, with the Museum teams help, the estimated future growth of the collection.

“The Spacesaver solution allows the museum to grow while giving its staff the ability to keep the collection organized and safe throughout their display and storage processes.” cites Dave Bradford, Storage Planner for Bradford Systems. “The solution we proposed made the most use of their vault environment, and gave them flexibility they didn’t have before."

The storage renovation project will be completed by December of this year and promises to be a dependable, long-lasting archival solution for the needs of the Rockford Art Museum Permanent Collection.

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