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Technologische Studien

Volume 9/10, 2012/2013Special issue "New Collection Storage Facility"


Die Errichtung des kostenoptimierten Kunstdepots unter Einhaltung zeitgemäßer Standards

Stefan Fleck

During the construction of the new collections storage facility for the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, attention was given to creating stable environmental conditions and optimal art storage while maintaining low building and operating costs and a short construction time.

This could all be realised within a planning and building phase of only 20 months in total through streamlined project structures and a largely modular construction method for the structure using premade elements. First experiences in the operational phase show that the ambitious goal could completely be achieved. The new KHM facility raises storage standards with its functional building.

Erhebung eines Mengengerüsts für die Lagertechnikplanung in Museumsdepots

Joachim Huber

A so-called quantity structure is a basic tool for estimating storage needs in a museum. The often highly varied collections cannot, as a rule, be evaluated through inventories in such a way as to provide reliable information on space requirements.

With the method presented here for creating a quantity structure, existing storage conditions are systematically collected on-site in a database and supplemented by information on storage systems, optimisation needs, reserves, traffic patterns, room for handling, and other requisites. The analysis of the data allows an estimation of the future surface and volume requirements for the storage of the objects, and the planning of the necessary repositories with the associated storage systems. Ideally, the quantity structure can also serve as the basis for bidding on storage systems. It is sometimes also possible to use the information collected in planning the later move of the objects.

Die Übersiedelung der Sammlungen des Kunsthistorischen Museums Wien in das neue Zentraldepot.
Vorbereitung, Planung und Umsetzung

Christina Schaaf-Fundneider and Tanja Kimmel

The Kunsthistorisches Museum decided to build a new collections storage facility in September 2009. Prior to that point, the museum’s art repositories had been divided among nine different locations in and around Vienna.

The complex, intensive planning and preparation for the new facility began in early 2010 with the formation of two project teams, “Construction” and “Move.” On 1 August 2011, the move of the collections from all of the rented storage locations began. The first transport phase was successfully completed on 30 November 2011. In a second campaign from April 2012, artworks and archival materials from the in-house repositories are now being transferred. In total, 1 million objects from nine different art collections and three archives were to be moved.

Through the storage of artworks in a centralised location – in keeping with the latest standards – objects previously divided in various locations could be assembled for the first time.

The article gives insight into the execution of the project and various methods of collection assessment. Preventative conservation measures necessary in preparation, such as pest monitoring and nitrogen and mould treatments, are also described. In addition, affordable and efficient packing solutions which have enabled the safe transport of the artworks and can be reused in different collections are presented.

Integriertes Schädlingsmanagement (IPM) beim Umzug der zu deponierenden Objekte nach Himberg

Pascal Querner, Tanja Kimmel, Stefan Fleck, Eva Götz, Michaela Morelli and Katja Sterflinger

In relocating the objects housed in the various storage sites of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna to a new location, the goal of a pest-free move into the new building was established. Not all objects from all collections could be preventatively treated for infestation before their transfer, however; instead, during the planning and construction phases of the new storage facility in 2010 and 2011, all collections were evaluated in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) monitoring program.

Thus, and with the experience of previous years, infested objects and collections were identified. A specific problem at the KHM was a biscuit beetle infestation (Stegobium paniceum) in paintings with linings containing starch paste, and in horse models at the Museum of Carriages (Wagenburg).

Webbing clothes moths (Tineola bisselliella) were found at the Museum of Carriages and in the storage spaces of the Austrian Theatre Museum, sometimes in large numbers. All infested objects were treated in three large nitrogen tents and in the museum’s nitrogen chamber before the move in summer 2011. Two collections were affected by mould, and elaborate measures for mould treatment (cleaning) had to be implemented during packing and transport.

At the new storage facility, an enlarged nitrogen chamber, three quarantine rooms (one for mould-contaminated objects), and areas for the separate delivery of infested materials were planned and constructed. The success of the treatments was evaluated with a new monitoring program with sticky, pheromone, and UV traps first installed in 2012. As a result of the IPM, it was not necessary to treat numerous objects and collections with nitrogen, allowing substantial savings of money and time.

However, it is essential to continue long-term monitoring within the framework of the Integrated Pest Management program. Pests should thus be quickly discovered in the future, and infested objects recognised. As a preventive measure, all incoming objects are to be treated before entering the new storage facility to prevent a new infestation.

Zur Einführung der Depotverwaltung mit Barcode

Peter Kloser

With the move to the new storage facility, barcode technology was introduced to simplify collections management. Two applications by the software company Cit were used for the object database TMS by Gallery Systems: a mobile system with hand scanners and later synchronisation with the database, and a stationary system with direct database access.

Ideally, the placement of the barcodes on the objects and the photographic documentation for the database occurred before the transport. Due to time pressures, however, this was only possible in a few cases.

Übersiedelung von Objekten der Antikensammlung, der Ägyptisch-Orientalischen Sammlung sowie der Kunstkammer in das Zentraldepot des Kunsthistorischen Museums

Bettina Vak, Angelika Kathrein and Michael Loacker

The move of 16,000 objects from the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities with a combined weight of 420 tonnes presented a particular challenge in the coordination of operations and handling of the objects.

For the ca. 2,000 heavy stone objects, documentation and rationalised transfer were paramount. The confirmation of inventory numbers, placement on new Euro-palettes, and weighing of these objects preceded their actual packing and securing. In a few cases, customised palettes for oversized objects had to be constructed. The firm DP-art and particularly its technical director Martin Dorfmann assisted the Kunsthistorisches Museum as external coordinator and designer of transport materials. Thanks to his help, sacks and crates were developed that enabled the quick and easy packing of all object groups.

The move of tombstones mounted to the wall was effected with specially made “wooden shoes”; the movement of very heavy objects was performed primarily on palettes with load-binding straps. Electrical lifting machines, various lifting belts, load-binding straps and a crane were all used.

The securing of small fragile objects (glass, ceramic, metal) necessarily took place before the move. Small parts had to be individually wrapped in tissue paper and organised in small boxes. Through precise inventories and location control, the deadline of six weeks allotted to move the 14,000 small objects could be met. Larger objects were individually packed in tissue paper and organised in transport boxes, which were stacked onto palettes fit with shelving. To facilitate the loading of the trucks, floor markings were established with the dimensions of their loading surfaces. The placement of the already packed and secured object palettes and other packing units was thus prearranged in two fields.

This large move could be implemented in a safe and timely fashion thanks to the exemplary collaboration of all involved.

Übersiedelung von kleinen Objekten der Ägyptisch-Orientalischen Sammlung in das Zentraldepot Himberg

Irene Engelhardt

The years from 2010 to 2012 were dominated by the move of objects from the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection from Inzersdorf to the newly built storage facility in Himberg. This time, the works – they are largely made from inorganic materials e.g. ceramic, stone, metal, etc., but also from a variety of very different organic substances including leather, fur, textile, and plant material – were to be subject to cleaning and infestation treatments that were already long deemed necessary.

During the previous move from the basement of the Museum of Ethnology in 2000/2001, a severe mould problem resulting from improper environmental conditions had become acutely evident. These contaminated objects had remained packed and correspondingly labelled in Inzersdorf. Further damage was observed in reassembled objects, which at times had broken apart (especially stone and ceramic vessels); there were also several cases of salt efflorescence and/or resulting scaling, crumbling material layers; pest infestation in leather fragments (holes, tunnelling) and fur, in addition to cracking, etc.

From the results of the mould analyses, a dry cleaning program with protective measures for the safety of the workers was developed, and clean provisional storage made available on rolling shelving. Not only was quick handling thus possible, but transport packaging was also created, which was of particular importance due the large number of units containing objects made of different materials.

In the course of the cleanings, photodocumentation was made of each individual object as well as any additional informational material, and temporary numbers were systematically assigned to “numberless” objects. Short condition reports were produced, and inspection and sorting e.g. of shards and/or mixed materials (especially of grouped items) was performed. A number of samples of possible contents were also taken, primarily from vessels.

Outstanding projects include the production of a location map for the storage space, the assignment of barcodes, the processing of handwritten condition reports and the final placement of objects. Two additional moves of a few very large ceramic vessels, animal mummies, and textiles are also pending.

Ein Depot für die Tapisseriensammlung des Kunsthistorischen Museums

Katja Schmitz-von Ledebur

The outstanding Vienna tapestry holdings were assembled by members of the House of Habsburg, who like the dukes of Burgundy before them were among the greatest sponsors and enthusiasts of these textile wall decorations. The fragile objects, which since the end of the monarchy have been in the care of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, can for conservation reasons not be permanently displayed to the public, but rather can only be shown temporarily. The storage of these holdings must thus be given particular care.

With the construction of a new collections storage facility, the Kunsthistorisches Museum was not only able to create a repository in keeping with modern standards of preservation – it also developed a special storage system for the tapestries. After a long testing phase, rolls made of galvanised steel sheeting wrapped with polyethylene and polyester fleece were chosen. The tapestries will be stored on these rolls in the future. Each tapestry received its own roll and a specific location in a shelving system that is appropriate to the needs of the collection. The accessibility of the tapestries and the development of a system for the careful and easy handling of the rolled objects were additionally considered.

Die Übersiedelung der Depotbestände der Gemäldegalerie von Inzersdorf in das Zentraldepot Himberg

Eva Götz and Elke Oberthaler

Mid-2011 saw the completion of a new building at the edge of Vienna to group the substantial storage holdings of the KHM and the Austrian Theatre Museum in a centralised facility. The dissolution of one of the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s former external repositories affected around 2,000 paintings and 800 frames from the Picture Gallery.

These had to be transferred within a few weeks to the new facility. The move was complicated by an acute insect infestation that necessitated the nitrogen treatment of all of the objects. For this, all of the paintings storage racks were wrapped and the contents fumigated in a nearly 1,000 m³ nitrogen tent.

To facilitate the move, the objects were documented, remedially treated, and prepared for transport over a six month period by a team including restorers from the department and external collaborators. The most commonly executed interventions are presented
here on the basis of selected examples. Conservation treatments required for the transport are discussed, as are provisional preventative measures, but also methods for the lasting improvement of the storage situation. Handling, logistics, and transport are discussed, as are innovative and resource-saving packing solutions. Additionally, individual solutions for objects with special requirements are singled out, for example the move of large-format works with dimensions of up to 4 x 6 m, or a group of rolled paintings.

Concurrent with the move, a new location tracking system using barcode labels was introduced. All of the frames were also documented, photographed, and their locations recorded for the first time; they are now likewise digitally documented.

Zur Übersiedelung eines ausgewählten Sammlungsbestandes des Münzkabinetts, insbesondere der Naturalgeldsammlung, in das neue Zentraldepot in Himberg

Nora Gasser, Sabine Imp and René Traum

The Coin Cabinet possesses a substantial collection of medals and seals, coin models, and primitive money in a wide variety of materials (copper alloys, iron, enamel, gemstones, textiles, wood, shells, horn, etc.) and material combinations. The often sensitive objects were previously kept in the rooms of the Coin Cabinet at the KHM. For the rehousing and long-term archival storage at the new collections facility in Himberg, a plan for adaptation to object-specific needs with the elimination of harmful influences was developed and implemented.

This entailed the removal of inappropriate packing materials and their substitution with archival materials, the replacement of the unsuitable oak cabinets with customised, pollutant-free metal cabinets, and the optimisation of environmental conditions.

During the move, particular attention was given to the collection of primitive money, where several objects suffered acute insect infestation. These had to be treated separately in order to prevent the introduction of pests into the new repository and the resulting contamination of other collection materials.

After an initial cleaning of the objects, acid-free transport packaging was produced. Organic and/or infested objects were additionally sealed in plastic film and the resulting packages were filled with nitrogen, with oxygen absorbers and indicators added. The objects remained in their envelopes not only during the transport, but also for about six months in the new storage facility, to insure that all pests had been eradicated. Within the storage complex, a climate controlled room was created for all of the Coin Cabinet objects, in which the required environmental parameters can be permanently maintained.

Furthermore, through the separation of this “climate chamber” from the large storage area and the installation of separate air filtration, additional protection from dust and pollutants
could be achieved.

Übersiedelung der Depotobjekte der Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente

Ina Hoheisel and Alfons Huber

The primary task was the packing of ca. 70 pianos, objects characterised both by their great weight and by their delicacy, with sensitive surfaces, structural components, and decorative elements, and at times by fragile states of preservation.

Through shrewd and timely logistical planning and the development of a climatically buffering and economic packing on easy-to-manoeuvre transport planks or adapted Euro-palettes, a safe and efficient progression was possible within the narrow allotted time.

Des Kaisers neue „Kleiderkammer“.
Die Übersiedelung von Beständen der Wagenburg und des Monturdepots in das neue Zentraldepot des KHM – Planung, Vorbereitung und Umsetzung

Tanja Kimmel, Daniela Sailer and Monica Kurzel-Runtscheiner

The construction of the new centralised art depository provides the Museum of Carriages (Wagenburg) and the associated Department of Court Uniforms (Monturdepot) with optimal, conservation-appropriate storage conditions, and offers longneeded room for expansion. Through the move, which took place from late 2011 until early 2012, the cramped storage facilities of the two collections at their respective locations could be relieved; due to the space available in the new facility, a sizeable group of large-format objects could be investigated by scholars, recorded according to museological standards, and photographically documented for the first time.

The article first considers the two-year preparations and the subsequent move of the objects from three different locations: the storage facility in Inzersdorf, which was emptied; the storage space of the Department of Court Uniforms in the Hofburg; and the repositories of the Museum of Carriages in Schönbrunn palace. The development of various packing solutions for the transport, and other preparations such as the cleaning and nitrogen fumigation of objects, are also discussed.

Additionally, new storage systems and the facilities for different object groups are presented. Specially developed features such as cantilever storage racks, a large cabinet with shelving, portable boxes for mannequins, and a standardised cabinet system with variable internal configurations are described in greater detail.

Zum Monitoring von (Luft-)Schadstoffen als Werkzeug der Präventiven Konservierung.
Einführung und erste Erfahrungen aus dem Zentraldepot Himberg

Christina Schaaf-Fundneider and Martina Grießer

As an aspect of preventive conservation in museum environments, atmospheric pollutants and their effects on art and cultural property have received in-creased attention in recent years, in Austria and elsewhere. In this article, the most significant atmospheric pollutants, their most common sources, and their effects on artworks are first presented; considering the German and English literature, it seeks to offer an “introductory guide” for colleagues in everyday museum praxis.

With the completion of the newly constructed collections storage facility in Himberg, the Conservation Science Department of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna was given the chance to observe from the start the concentration development of a selected number of atmospheric pollutants and/or pollutant groups in the building, and to introduce pollutant monitoring.

During the construction and furnishing of the storage facility and in preparing the objects for the move, an attempt was already made to keep the entry of pollutants as low as possible. All materials used were additionally subjected to the so-called Oddy test and – with the exception of wooden Europalettes for heavy stone objects – only those without demonstrable damage potential for objects were used.

The investigation of atmospheric pollutants by the Conservation Science Department using various methods of measurement could finally be started in August 2011. The most likely pollutants and/or classes of pollutants – volatile organic compounds (VOCs), organic acids, aldehydes and ketones, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and ozone – from the external air, the construction materials, the (new) storage systems, and finally also the objects gradually brought into the repository were analysed, and the VOCs in particular were subject to regular monitoring at 35 measurement points over a period of 1.5 years to date.

In the framework of the EU Project MUSECORR, the corrosive potential of the atmosphere in the storage facility for (art) objects could further be evaluated at three selected measurement points using a newly developed measurement technology. The data collected thus far indicates that the attempts to keep the concentration of pollutants in the building low, i.e. to provide slightly to noncorrosive environmental conditions for the long-term storage of the artworks, have been successful.

Technologische Studien, Volume 9/10
€ 35.00