Ingenium suspends artifact acquisition and lending until 2021

INGENIUM
Ingenium

OTTAWA, April 13, 2018 – Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation is suspending the acquisition and lending of artifacts until Fall 2021.

The suspension is necessary due to the ongoing work required to prepare and move Ingenium’s large artifact and archives collections to the new Collections Conservation Centre that is currently under construction. The centre follows in the footsteps of the successful completion of the Canada Science and Technology Museum, which reopened its doors to the public on November 17, 2017.

The new Collections Conservation Centre 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. A new research institute and digital media lab will complement the centre’s library and archive, conservation labs, and workshops.

The relocation to the new Collections Conservation Centre represents for Ingenium a complex, multi-year undertaking that implicates all aspects of managing the permanent National Science and Technology collection and involves numerous curators, conservators, and artifact handling experts. The suspension of acquiring and lending artifacts will ensure that research, collection, and conservation resources are 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. 

Although it is a normal activity and considered a museum’s collection management best practice, collection rationalization will be prioritized throughout the move. This means that the ongoing process of offering objects to other collecting institutions will be accelerated. As a last resort, objects which do not find a new home will be made available publicly for others to acquire.  

Collection and 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.

Contact:

William McRae
Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation
wmcrae@ingeniumcanada.org
613-793-2416

About Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation

Launched in June 2017, Ingenium is a new national brand established to preserve and share Canada’s story of scientific and technological heritage. This corporate brand, which celebrates ingenuity, encompasses three national institutions—the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Under the Ingenium brand, these three museums are places where the past meets the future, with spaces where visitors can learn and explore, play and discover. Ingenium also has an eye to the future with a state-of-the-art Collections Conservation Centre, digital and social media platforms, and travelling national and international exhibitions to educate, entertain and engage audiences across Canada and around the world.

For more, visit us: IngeniumCanada.org