Art Storage

by Kimberly Jones

If you are a serious collector of high value, rare or precious objects, it is likely that you will need to store some or all of your collection at some point. If and when this time arrives, it is important to know how to evaluate and choose the proper storage facility. The two most important aspects of storage are protection and preservation.

Protection

  • A fine art storage facility must be a fire resistive or non-combustible structure, composed of concrete and reinforced steel beams, so that if there were a fire, it would be contained.
  • The facility should be freestanding and distant from other buildings.
  • The entry and exit point should be the same and there should be only one entry/exit. Ideally, there should be no windows in the storage areas; if there are, they should be blocked from light.
  • Motion detectors, shock sensors, and fire and smoke detectors should be installed in all areas of the facility and they should be connected to central security stations that connect respectively with the Police and Fire Departments. They should be monitored 24/7.
  • Fire protection should include either a wet pipe or dry pipe sprinkler system throughout the facility, especially in storage areas.
  • Inspections of security and fire protection systems should be conducted regularly and maintained using service contracts with professional vendors.
  • Personnel who are responsible for handling the art should be trained and bonded.
  • The loading dock should be secure at all times and monitored by company staff.
  • A computerized inventory system should be available.
  • All access to the facility should be monitored, restricted and documented. Access should be limited to working hours.
  • Private vaults should be provided for those collectors requiring a higher level of security and privacy.

Preservation

  • Temperature and humidity control is critical for art preservation. The temperature should be maintained between 68 and 72 degrees and the humidity level should be between 50 and 55 percent.
  • Smoking must be prohibited.
  • An active pest control program should be in place.

Finally, your personal inspection of the facility is highly recommended, as your observations during that visit are an invaluable tool in making your final decision.

FORTRESS® has been providing Museum Quality Storage® for 23 years and is the leader in the industry. FORTRESS® also offers a variety of services, including packing, transportation, shipping, crating and installation. Please visit us at www.thefortress.com for more information.

Boston
617-288-3636

New York
718-937-5500

Miami
305-374-6161

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Kimberly Jones is the Vice President & General Manager of FORTRESS® Miami and has managed the Miami operation for 22 years.