Call for Papers – Museum International: Museum Collection Storage

Dal sito di ICOM International:

Museum Collection Storage. Vol. 73, Nº 289-290

ICOM is preparing an issue of Museum International on the theme Museum Collection Storage. All proposals submitted will be assessed for suitability and if chosen, the subsequent articles will go through a double-blind peer review process. The issue is expected to be published, in collaboration with Taylor&Francis/Routledge, in June 2021. 


Although it forms an essential component of museum activity, museum collection storage has failed to arouse the interest of politicians, researchers and other stakeholders, whose attention is focused on museums’ public spaces. However, most museums store a large part of their collections – up to 99% in certain institutions – in these spaces. A significant number of museum professionals also work in these spaces, ensuring the preservation and correct handling of objects: registrars, conservators, restorers, among others. Although often perceived as dusty, inactive spaces, reserves are in fact essential to the management and preventive conservation of collections. In a context of increasing collections and their growing circulation, storage facilities appear to be a central issue for museum policies. 

Events in recent years have brought museum collection storage back to the fore. Natural disasters (floods, fires, earthquakes, etc.) have highlighted the risk management issues that collections face in these spaces. Major renovation projects in certain institutions have also brought to light the economic and ecological challenges linked to the construction and maintenance of these conservation spaces. From an economic perspective, a certain number of experts plead for the limitation of these spaces, which they consider to house ‘unproductive stock’. For efficiency reasons, many establishments have also gradually decided to manage shared storage facilities, promoting the emergence of autonomous entities separate from exhibition spaces. This dissociation between the museum and its storage facilities reopens the debate on the collection’s role in the museum. At the same time, certain initiatives, such as the creation of visible storage or the opening of interpretation spaces in independent storage facilities, contribute to their visibility. However, the different dimensions to these facilities remain relatively unexplored. 

This issue of Museum International will open the discussion on museum collection storage in museums worldwide.