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Science Museum Group

The Science Museum Group has occupied Wroughton Airfield, based in the Wiltshire countryside, since the 1970s. The Second World War maintenance airfield with its seven imposing aircraft hangars, house items from the science, engineering, transport and agricultural reserve collections.

One such hangar is home to a radical new archive solution known as the Hemcrete® Museum Store. Situated within the hangar itself, the award winning Hemcrete® facility was designed as a new solution to protecting objects including horse-drawn carriages, Rail Industry National Archive (RINA) fine art works, wooden ship models and paper archives. Many of these objects are sensitive to changing climate conditions such as light, heat and moisture so providing the right environment is essential to prevent deterioration.

The solution was to create a zero-carbon sustainable storage building from hemp and lime – low carbon natural materials which provide temperature and humidity buffering and ensure that the museum’s collections are maintained for future generations.

As well as protecting objects from deterioration, the Hemcrete® facility allows the museum to reduce carbon emissions and make significant energy savings.

Following construction, the innovative storage building was honoured for its sustainable design, by winning the Sustainability Award 2013 at the Museums and Heritage Awards. The project was also recognised at the 2013 Greenbuild Awards, where it won the Best Workplace New Build category.

The Brief

The new store, consists of three floors, divided into 6 ‘rooms’. Three large rooms house 3D objects with horse-drawn carriages on the ground floor, very large ship models contained in crates on the middle floor, with the top floor accommodating artwork.

The three smaller rooms house 2D archives from the National Railway Museum’s collections. Once the new facility was complete, the Science Museum Group prepared a precise specification for the storage, which was put out to tender. Following submissions from suppliers, Link 51 were awarded the contract and, following site visits, produced CAD drawings to support the available space.

The Solution

  • For the fine art collection on the top floor, Link 51 installed:
  • 17 double sided picture racks at 4000mm x 2000mm
  • 13 double sided picture racks at 3900mm x 2250mm
  • 64 double sided picture racks at 4000mm x 2250mm
  • Each rack being supported by 2 x 400kg hangers with 10mm diameter rods to allow vertical adjustment.
  • The total storage capacity amounted to 1652 sqm.
  • Additional shelving in the three smaller rooms included two
  • Stormor mobile units and a mix of static shelving, principally
  • to be used for archive storage in conservation-grade boxes

By using Link 51, the Science Museum Group benefited from:

  • UK-based in-house manufacturing capability
  • Fully managed market-leading storage solutions
  • Extensive project management expertise
  • Substantial knowledge and experience
  • High-quality product range combining strength, durability and operational reliability

“Link 51 were very thorough with their submission to our tender document, being the only company to supply detailed answers that we needed, together with a method statement for the work. Having used them extensively in the past, we are very comfortable with their products.”

Marta Leskard BA MA MAC, Conservation & Collections Care Manager – Science Museum

For more information on any of the products specified for The Science Group please call us on 0800 169 515.

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