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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.

 


Videos

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.

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in the new collection and conservation

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facility we will have enough space to

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house our entire collection or the the

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collection that exists on the Lancaster

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Road site to move into the building with

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enough expansion and growth space for

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future needs the ingenious box mately

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156,000 objects of which 86,000 objects

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will be moved over to the collections

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and conservation facilities the existing

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housing space on the Lancaster site is

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proximately 17,000 square meters when we

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move into the collection and

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conservation facility in spring of 2019

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we will be moving the collection into

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approximately 36,000 square meters of

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purpose-built storage space it'll be a

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purpose-built facility we've hired a

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company space saver and they will be

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coming in and they with compact shelving

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both mobile compact shelving racking

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compact cantilever shelving this will

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allow us to condense our collection into

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a more compact I make more efficient use

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of the building because the current

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buildings occupied by the the collection

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spaces

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we're not purpose-built they were

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warehouses so moving into the collection

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and conservation center we will have

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compact shelving that will address our

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storage needs we will have three active

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conservation labs within the facility

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two for treatment of the objects and

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when for the cataloging and acquisition

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as part of best practice in collections

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management the incorporation is also

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under growing collection of

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rationalization what this entails is we

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are looking at the collection and trying

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to call it to see what is the best

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national representation of a national

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with this involves is if we have a

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series of for example four brownie

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cameras we'll look at the four brownie

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cameras assess which one has the best

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provident which one is in the best

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condition and we will probably die

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accession one or two of that so we have

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the best representation for examples for

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international pleasure - tea collection

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and Conservation Center is open and

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we've housed the entire collection and

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we will continue to provide tours as

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part of the visitors experience

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programming that was previously offered

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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.

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the biggest challenge of the building

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was accommodating all of the artifacts

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in the right species much of the rest of

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the building after the first story is

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mostly collections the first level above

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grade is administrative and there's some

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labs in there but after that it's mostly

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storage it's a very strong building is

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very robust

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the floors are quite thick large columns

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it's dealing with a lot of heavy loads

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as you can imagine fire trucks and the

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like farm machinery little generators

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things like that there's there's one

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area on level one that we reinforced

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even more to have a greater slab

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capacity to deal with some of the extra

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large artifacts those challenges and

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scale on site it's a very long sites a

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very long building that we've been

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designing it's very close to the

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entrance of the museum so one of the

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things we did to relieve that proximity

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was to create the public space of the

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plaza that allows the plaza which was

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existing from museum design to expand

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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.


Photos