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Collections Conservation Centre

Collections Conservation Centre

The luxurious, Oshawa-built McLaughlin-Buick convertible from the Royal Tour of 1939 and renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh’s cameras are among thousands of valuable artifacts that will soon have a brand-new home at the Collections Conservation Centre.

Currently under construction next to the award-winning Canada Science and Technology Museum, the Collections Conservation Centre is a facility designed to protect priceless Canadian heritage artifacts for the benefit of many generations to come.

The facility – which will be nearly 36,000 m² – will relieve the overcapacity storage situation Ingenium has faced for many years. It will house hundreds of thousands of nationally-significant artifacts, emblematic of Canadian ingenuity and Canadians’ everyday experience. These include vintage cars, locomotives, propellers, and ship models, as well as cameras, televisions, and telephones. Instruments, tools, and equipment from diverse fields of science and technology – which require specialized environments to ensure their long-term preservation – are another segment of the collection. Specially-designed, mobile compact shelving will allow Ingenium to maximize efficiency within the new space.

In addition to storage, the Collections Conservation Centre will include a library and archive, a new research institute, several conservation labs, a digital innovation lab, and workshops. Access will be provided through guided tours. The long-term vision of the site includes the redevelopment of the Museum Park, which will be a community space infused with science and technology.

Q & As

Collections Conservation Centre
What is the building under construction next to the CSTM?

That is the Collections Conservation Centre , which will be the future home of the national collection of artifacts, library materials, and archives cared for by Ingenium, as well as conservation laboratories, workshops, and research and administration offices.

When will it open?

We will start moving artifacts into the Collections Conservation Centre in early 2019. It will take approximately two years to move in all of the artifacts, labs, workshops, library, and staff offices.

Will visitors be able to visit the collection inside?

Yes, guided tours will be offered by the Canada Science and Technology Museum staff. One of the objectives of the Collections Conservation Centre is to make the collection more accessible to the public.

Will it have space to house the entire collection?

Yes, the new Collections Conservation Centre will house Ingenium’s entire collection. We will use mobile, compact storage solutions and volumetrics in order to store the collection as effectively as possible. The tall ceilings will allow us to maximize vertical storage. We will also be storing artifacts, archives, and objects by similar size and type, allowing us to present the collection more cohesively.

Will there be laboratories?

Yes, the centre will house several laboratories, including a conservation lab, a registration lab, a digital innovation lab, a videography studio, and a fumigation and decontamination lab. These specialized labs will allow us to better care for, provide access to, and share content about the collection.

What is the building’s long-term plan?

Our long-term plan is to expand the building in order to provide room for future growth of the collection. This future expansion could include the specialized storage needs of other federal heritage institutions, as part of the full realization of the master site plan. There is no shortage of space on the site to expand in the future. The National Capital Commission has already approved the possibility of future expansion as part of its federal land use approval, granted in April 2017.

Suspension of collecting and lending activities
Why is Ingenium suspending its collecting and lending activities?

In the context of the upcoming move of the national science and technology collection to the new Collections Conservation Centre, the corporation is suspending its collecting and lending activities during the move preparation and execution.

The move represents a complex, multi-year endeavor that implicates all aspects of curatorial, collection management, and conservation responsibility. The suspension is necessary to ensure that research, collection, and conservation resources can be dedicated to pursue collection rationalization, cataloguing, and inventory assessment, as well as ensure the proper care of artifacts, archives and objects during packing, moving, and unpacking activities.

How long will it last?

The suspension of collecting and lending activities will last until Fall 2021.

Disposal of objects
Is Ingenium going to sell artifacts?

It is possible that some objects – which were part of the collection in the past – will eventually be made available for purchase. However, any artifact that leaves the collection must first be assessed by curators and deaccessioned by the Ingenium Acquisition Committee. Deaccessioning is a normal part of museum practice. Artifacts generally get deaccessioned because of: duplication, lack of provenance, poor condition, or lack of relevance to the museums’ mandate. Any deaccessioned object must be offered to other Canadian museums. If none are interested, a deaccessioned collection object may then be exchanged for privately-held objects of comparable value or sold as a last resort. In accordance with ethical best practices for museums, all net proceeds from such sales are reinvested in new acquisitions or collection care.

What is being sold, then?

We routinely sell redundant corporate inventory, old display components, exhibition props, furniture, tools, spare parts, and other materials that we no longer require.

Why are we hearing about this now?

Ingenium’s corporate operations will be moving to a new Collections Conservation Centre currently under construction. Although it is a normal activity and considered a best practice for museum collection management, collection rationalization will be prioritized throughout the move. This means that the ongoing process of deaccessioning objects and offering them to other collecting institutions will intensify. At the same time we are also accelerating our review of surplus corporate inventory to ensure no unnecessary material will be moved to the new facility.

Why sell online?

In order to make information about surplus objects as widely available as possible, we use online services such as eBay, Kijiji, or GC Surplus. This allows us to sell objects in an open and transparent manner and gives anyone interested the opportunity to purchase them.



Gordon Perrault, Director of Conservation and Collection Services, discusses the complexities of moving an entire collection of artifacts, from the very small to the very large.


in the new collection and conservation


facility we will have enough space to


house our entire collection or the the


collection that exists on the Lancaster


Road site to move into the building with


enough expansion and growth space for


future needs the ingenious box mately


156,000 objects of which 86,000 objects


will be moved over to the collections


and conservation facilities the existing


housing space on the Lancaster site is


proximately 17,000 square meters when we


move into the collection and


conservation facility in spring of 2019


we will be moving the collection into


approximately 36,000 square meters of


purpose-built storage space it'll be a


purpose-built facility we've hired a


company space saver and they will be


coming in and they with compact shelving


both mobile compact shelving racking


compact cantilever shelving this will


allow us to condense our collection into


a more compact I make more efficient use


of the building because the current


buildings occupied by the the collection




we're not purpose-built they were


warehouses so moving into the collection


and conservation center we will have


compact shelving that will address our


storage needs we will have three active


conservation labs within the facility


two for treatment of the objects and


when for the cataloging and acquisition


as part of best practice in collections


management the incorporation is also


under growing collection of


rationalization what this entails is we


are looking at the collection and trying


to call it to see what is the best


national representation of a national


with this involves is if we have a


series of for example four brownie


cameras we'll look at the four brownie


cameras assess which one has the best


provident which one is in the best


condition and we will probably die


accession one or two of that so we have


the best representation for examples for


international pleasure - tea collection


and Conservation Center is open and


we've housed the entire collection and


we will continue to provide tours as


part of the visitors experience


programming that was previously offered


prior to the museum closing in 2014

Architects Duncan Higgins and Maurizio Martignago speak to the challenges of designing and constructing a building large enough to house hundreds of thousands of artifacts.


the biggest challenge of the building


was accommodating all of the artifacts


in the right species much of the rest of


the building after the first story is


mostly collections the first level above


grade is administrative and there's some


labs in there but after that it's mostly


storage it's a very strong building is


very robust


the floors are quite thick large columns


it's dealing with a lot of heavy loads


as you can imagine fire trucks and the


like farm machinery little generators


things like that there's there's one


area on level one that we reinforced


even more to have a greater slab


capacity to deal with some of the extra


large artifacts those challenges and


scale on site it's a very long sites a


very long building that we've been


designing it's very close to the


entrance of the museum so one of the


things we did to relieve that proximity


was to create the public space of the


plaza that allows the plaza which was


existing from museum design to expand


and provide a really great public space

Curious to see what we are building next to the Canada Science and Technology Museum? Check out this video to explore the Collections Conservation Centre. 

Dr. Gary Polonsky, Chair of Ingenium's Board of Trustees talks about the future, innovative Collections Conservation Centre.

Dr. Gary Polonsky, Chair of Ingenium's Board of Trustees, talks about the construction and design of the Collections and Conservation Centre.


Images – Plans and Renderings

Images – Move Preparations and Construction