At Odense City Museums, it is the Conservation Department that it responsible for the practical management of the museums' collections when under storage. For many years, the artefacts were spread around many small and not particularly efficient distant storage areas. In 1994, the Conservation Department set up one large common warehouse in Odense. This released space at the museums, which now only have smaller local storage areas. At the same time, all the advantages of shared operations were gained by the establishment of the one common warehouse.
Odense City Museums' common warehouse is divided into two halls covering a total of 2,300 sqm on three floors. The halls were organised in two stages and in two different ways. In Storage Hall 1, which is climate-controlled with dehumidifiers, the relative humidity is never in excess of 55%. Moreover, a flexible shelf system has been established that is able to cater for all the diverse artefacts to be found in the collections.
A small section af the warehouse
Storage Hall 2 is equipped with 40-foot containers, which in turn are provided with shelves for package boxes full of archaeological specimens. A single container can house no less than 270 standard package boxes, and with a total of 30 such containers there is room for a considerable number of museum artefacts. Each container is dehumidified according to the desired level of humidity. This is a relatively inexpensive storage solution that also involves operational savings, because the tightly packed containers are far better at retaining the dry air than the large open storage hall.
The warehouse hall 2
The warehouse temperature follows the ambient temperature, because there is no form of hearing in the storage halls of the common warehouse. So it can be a very cold affair, working in the halls during the winter - and it is in fact very cool in the warehouse throughout the year. Attacks from insect pests are excluded by these low temperatures as well as the relatively low humidity, and the decomposition that we will never completely be able to prevent, takes place at a minimal rate.
On the more than 6 km of shelves in the two storage halls lie ploughs, smith's tongs, fustians, newspaper archives, clay pipes, installation art, trade union banners, doll's houses, grave finds - and much more besides - rub shoulders in order to get maximum usage out of the space. This vast randomness is electronically controlled via our databases. Here there is information about the name of the object, its museum number and position. At the museums, users can, via the registration databases, access information about the exact position of the object in the common warehouse. The user then personally goes out and studies the objects at the warehouse. Here there are study rooms with computers hooked up to the museums' internal network, so most of the work can be done on the spot.