Link 51 work with Shropshire Council to maximise storage and preserve local heritage
Shropshire Council turned to local storage equipment manufacturer Link 51 to deliver storage solutions for their Shropshire Museums, Shropshire Archives and Records Management departments at two sites in the county.
The new Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery occupies the town’s old Music Hall – an extraordinary complex of buildings featuring a rare medieval stone mansion that is the only one of its kind in this region.
Including geology, archaeology, social history, arts and photography, there are galleries devoted to prehistoric and Roman artefacts, the Medieval and Tudor period and the political and religious turmoil of the Stuart era. Items on display include: the Condover mammoth, a great Auk, a collection of locally discovered 9,315 bronze Roman coins, fossilised rain drops and Queen Victoria’s stockings.
In the main auditorium, the Shrewsbury Gallery tells key stories about Shropshire’s history, which was at the heart of the scientific revolution in the 19th century.
Prime Contractors for the museum refurbishment, international construction services group, ISG, invited Link 51 to enter the tendering process to supply a mobile ‘roller’ racking solution for the museum’s basement exhibit storage facility and racking for the archival storage of pictures, housed in a separate room. Working to detailed architectural specification and based on utilising all available space, Link 51 submitted their preliminary designs and were awarded the contract.
For the basement exhibit storage solution, installation concerns centred on the reduced height of the facility and the flooring, which required the fitting of a false floor infill to provide a flat level surface for the mobiles to run smoothly over.
- In the basement exhibit storage facility, the system featured a combination of mobile and static shelving in order to achieve full utilisation of floor space. Allowing for the reduced ceiling height variations, Link 51 installed a mix of 17 Stormor mobile ‘roller’ racking units and static shelving to accommodate to the varying sizes of the material being stored (ceramics and artifacts).
- For the picture racking, the 13 racks installed were supported by an overhead lightweight frame, with each rack incorporating steel mesh panels to both sides. Using smooth running tracks, energy absorbing buffers and self-braking systems, these racks provide a high density and safe storage facility that can be extended when required.
“For Link 51 to provide the range of storage in our basement facility that they did, was a feat in itself given the space confines. I was very impressed with Link 51’s approach to this project.
“Given the background to the museum, the expectation of its refurbishment and the fact that Link 51 are a local company, all made this particular challenge all the more important – I’m very glad to say that Link 51 ticked all the boxes in that respect.”
Emma-Kate Lanyon, Team Leader (Collections and Curatorial Services), Shropshire Museums, Visitor Economy Team, Shropshire Council
Shropshire Archives is the archives and local studies service for the historic county of Shropshire, which includes the Borough of Telford and Wrekin. Shropshire Archives is based on Castle Gates in Shrewsbury.
The function of Shropshire Archives is to preserve and make accessible documents, books, maps, photographs, plans and drawings relating to Shropshire’s past and present. Shropshire Council also maintainsan offsite combined museum, archives and records management store, which is located at Hortonwood, Telford.
The store itself, which is not open to the public, is shared with the County’s Election Services and it has been operational since April 2014. It has been fully refurbished and an internal archive ‘pod’ built – a separately constructed building within the store itself, which the service has had built to provide an environmentally controlled archival facility for historical records. The pod (94m³) is working to meet the standards of PD 5454:2012 – ‘Recommendations for the storage and exhibition of archival documents’ – which specifies temperature and humidity ranges for document storage, shelving schemes, and materials for document containers.
The remainder of the storage within the building is assigned to records (325 m³). These are mainly Shropshire Council’s own records integrated with the Records Management Service. Storage includes an area given over to storage for the Museum Service’s collections. The main operational focus of the records store is for transfers and collections. The Election Services use the building to accommodate their elections equipment and records.
For storage requirements, the building was split into two clear areas: the integrated pod for archive storage and the remaining main area for records storage, with both areas having a requirement for the storage of outsized items.
To facilitate the access and retrieval of archive material and in keeping with PD 5454:2012 recommendations, Link 51 installed a mix of Stormor mobile and static shelving to accommodate the different sizes of archive items. The mobile units are coloured red to indicate ‘archival storage’.
A mix of 15 mobile units and 5 static shelving units were installed to accommodate the Archives’18624 standard records management boxes. The mobile units are coloured blue to indicate the storage of ‘semi-current records’ – i.e. business records that are occasionally used for administrative or legal purposes.
The shelves within the mobile systems are all finished in RAL7035 – Light Grey – which includes BioCote® anti-microbial protection as standard. BioCote® is proven to reduce levels of bacteria on contact surfaces by up to 99.9%, drastically reducing the risks of bacterial cross-contamination and the spread of harmful bacteria and moulds.
“In overall terms, we are thoroughly satisfied with the service and the product and we are delighted to have worked with Link 51 on this project.”
Dale Pitt, Records Manager, Records Management Service, Shropshire Archives, Shropshire Council
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