Behind the scenes: Preparing Ingenium's library and archives for a big move

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The rare book room with some new boxes.

How do you move a library and archives?  Very carefully.

As Ingenium’s archivist, a big part of my role lately has been to prepare for a major move to the Collections Conservation Centre — scheduled for completion later this year. If you live in Ottawa, you may have noticed the construction site right next to the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

Ingenium staff will soon begin moving with two museum collections into the new building. Among the collections to move are the library and archival collections for the Canada Science and Technology Museum and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. 

So how to go about it?  After research into best practices, consultation with and training from our colleagues in the Conservation Services, and some planning, we set to work! Tasks on the intellectual and physical control of our holdings consisted of things like checking inventories, working through backlog to create basic records, and packing items.  
The goal for packing so far is to, wherever possible, put material in long-term, archival grade housing before the more temporary pack for the move. For example, we’re putting photographs and negatives into envelopes meant to slow down their chemical degradation over time. We’re taking slides out of plastic sleeves that aren’t stable enough for the long term. We have added removable covers to our rare books that are suffering some wear from being pulled by their spine from the shelf many, many times over the years. 

The gallery below shows our progress so far. I’ll give you an update in a few months — as the countdown to Ingenium’s big move continues! 

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Profile picture for user Adele Torrance
Adele Torrance

 Adele Torrance is the Archivist at Ingenium - Canada's Museums of Science and Innovation.