RE-ORG project overview: Haida Gwaii Museum

The Haida Gwaii Museum took part in the RE-ORG: Canada (West) training program in 2017–18. Their collection contained over 20,000 archaeological objects of Indigenous origin stored in a 14.5 m² space called the lab storage room (Figure 1).

Project lead: Sean Young

Main storage challenges

Lab storage room with access to collection blocked by items on the floor before RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of the Haida Gwaii Museum
Figure 1. Before RE-ORG: lab storage room, showing how access to the collection was blocked by items on the floor.

Lab storage room shelving at full capacity before RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of the Haida Gwaii Museum
Figure 2. Before RE-ORG: lab storage room, showing how existing shelving was at full capacity.

Project details

In preparation for the storage reorganization project, the Collections Manager completed the following steps:

Within a year, the Haida Gwaii Museum was able to make the following storage improvements:

In 2019, the RE-ORG team began properly cataloguing, analyzing and storing their specimen collection, and the student volunteers contributed to implementing the action plan (Figures 4 and 5). As work remains ongoing, they have also started the process of entering all collections-related data into a newly acquired collections management database.

Collection items packed, labelled and stored in a temporary location during RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of the Haida Gwaii Museum
Figure 3. During RE-ORG: collection items stored in a temporary location.

Student volunteers at work to implement the RE-ORG action plan

© Photo courtesy of the Haida Gwaii Museum
Figure 4. During RE-ORG: student volunteers at work.

Lab storage room after RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of the Haida Gwaii Museum
Figure 5. After RE-ORG: lab storage room.

The project took 16 weeks to complete with the help of no more than 10 team members throughout the 4 phases (Table 1).

Table 1: timeline and breakdown of project phases
RE-ORG phase Number of weeks to complete Number of team members
1. Getting started 2 1
2. Storage condition report 2 1
3. Storage action plan 6 10
4. Storage reorganization implementation 6 10

The RE-ORG project cost $13,500 to complete, with most financial resources being applied to storage furniture and project supplies (Table 2). The Haida Gwaii Museum was also successful in securing a $10,000 grant from the Museums Assistance Program for the project.

Table 2: budget breakdown
Budget item Amount (CAN$)
Staff time 3,500
Tools, supplies and materials 2,700
Storage furniture 7,300
External services (such as contractors) 0
Total project cost 13,500

Based on the RE-ORG Self-evaluation Tool for Collections in Storage, the Haida Gwaii Museum made improvements in all four components of RE-ORG: “management,” “building and space,” “collection and furniture” and “small equipment.”

According to the results in Table 3, the components “building and space” as well as “furniture and small equipment” experienced the largest improvement with an increase of 30% each (Figure 6).

Table 3: self-evaluation results for the lab storage room
RE-ORG component Score (before) Score (after)
Management (maximum of 42 points) 22 31
Building and space (maximum of 54 points) 20 36
Collection (maximum of 51 points) 21 30
Furniture and small equipment (maximum of 33 points) 8 18
Graph illustrating the percentage of improvement to the scores for the RE-ORG self-evaluation tool for the Haida Gwaii Museum, details below

© Government of Canada, Canadian Conservation Institute. CCI 132794-0020
Figure 6. Graph illustrating the percentage of improvement to the scores for the RE-ORG self-evaluation tool, calculated by comparing scores before and after the storage reorganization project.

Description of Figure 6
RE-ORG component Percentage of improvement
Management 21%
Building and space 30%
Collection 18%
Furniture and small equipment 30%

Lessons learned

Based on the experience of the Haida Gwaii Museum, the following should be considered in future RE-ORG projects:

Additional resource

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