We all know that discussing issues with other museum professionals within Subject Specialist Networks is an efficient way of disseminating information within the sector, but the following article provides a perspective from a generalist commercial storage company; a voice we don’t usually hear from.
Safestore, the UK’s largest self-storage provider, recently made a video series called ‘Stuff is Great‘ which focused on collectors and their individual passions. Among other client case studies, the series featured Suzette Field and her collection of taxidermy specimens. The following article, How to Store Taxidermy, was written by Safestore themselves and provides useful guidance on how to use these public facilities for storing such material.
As any taxidermy enthusiast will know, a sizable collection can take years to build. During that time your life and circumstances will change; you may welcome children into your life, move home, change job, all the while accumulating more pieces. At some point you may be faced with the challenge of storing your taxidermy and with the right know-how it’s not as painful a process as it sounds!
Safestore recently stored a taxidermy collection and found it to be the safest environment for high value taxidermy. Your attic or garage may seem like a cheaper alternative but both locations are affected by the changing climate throughout the year, putting undue stress on your collection.
Follow these tips for storing your taxidermy safely…
- Use wooden crates.
Using a wooden crate for each taxidermy piece means you can affix the mounts to the inside of the crates. This will keep the taxidermy from touching the inside of the crate and allow air to circulate the piece. Cardboard isn’t sturdy enough for large taxidermy pieces and doesn’t offer the same protection.
- Keep the damp away.
Storage units are typically very dry but the climate can vary from time to time. Add silica gel packets to each crate as they will absorb any moisture in the air and keep your taxidermy dry.
- Keep the pests away.
Moths and small bugs would love nothing more than nibbling away at your taxidermy pieces so using ‘no pest strips’ or moth killer strips will help to keep your crates critter free.
- Climate and humidity.
When looking for self storage units for your taxidermy, ensure your unit is somewhat climate controlled. Units on the outer edge of the building may be more prone to temperature changes so ask for a unit that remains cool and dry throughout the year.
Taxidermy is expensive and some pieces are one of a kind, therefore it is imperative to ensure your items are safe and secure once in storage. Look for self storage facilities with 24hr CCTV, restricted access, sole key holder policies and intruder alarms.
It’s super important to check your taxidermy from time to time, especially if you’re storing for a number of months. Make sure you replace the pest strips and silica packets and check for any signs of damage or stress. It’s easier to rectify a problem sooner rather than later!
Ultimately taxidermy is for displaying and enjoying, however if you’re in need of an interim home for your collection you’re not short of options. Keeping your pieces safe and in good condition is easy so long as each item is packed with due care and is stored somewhere out of harm’s reach.
By Tiffiny Franklin, Digital Outreach Executive, Safestore