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The William R. and Clarice V. Spurlock Museum at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Moving the Museum

 

Moving the Museum

Moving more than 30,000 artifacts from Lincoln Hall to the new Spurlock facility was a difficult and time-consuming task. The process began in January 1997 when museum staff members initiated a complete inventory of the museum's collections. This was a crucial first step in the move since no attempt at a full inventory of the museum's collections had been made since 1972/1973. To provide adequate work space for museum employees, it was necessary to close the Roman Gallery in the old museum.

In May 1998, the World Heritage Museum closed its doors to the public and preparations for the move increased in intensity. The existing exhibits in the galleries had to be completely dismantled. Artifacts on display and in storage had to be safely removed, inventoried, and readied for packing.

It took two years to pack the museum's collections. Museum employees had to construct over 2000 boxes and crates to pack and ship the museum's collections. Each of the museum's 30,000 artifacts received individual attention, and boxes were custom built for each artifact. A variety of different packing materials were employed throughout this process, and new techniques for packing and shipping had to be studied, learned, and perfected.

Artifacts were moved to the new Spurlock facility in the summer of 2000. In the first phase of the move, over 99% of the collection, carefully boxed and arranged into pallets, was moved across campus in the space of four days. During phase two, the elevator shaft was opened to accomodate a series of large crates. This required the cooperation of several campus units and the extensive use of heavy machinery.

Once in the new museum, artifacts had to be carefully unpacked and placed in the Spurlock's new storage facility. At the same time, the museum's artifact inventories and database records were double-checked for accuracy.

We have created seven slide shows that illustrate the different stages of the move. You can access these presentations by clicking the links to the right.