RE-ORG project overview: Maison de Mère d’Youville

The Grey Nuns of Montréal’s department of archives and collections participated in the RE-ORG: Canada (Quebec) training program in 2016–17. Their collection of 5000 objects related to social heritage was stored in 250 m² in the Maison de Mère d'Youville in Montreal. The RE-ORG project involved 500 of these objects, which were in three different rooms of the house.

Project leads: Mylène Laurendeau and Brigitte Campeau

Main storage challenges

A section of the collection storage area, with furniture and other bulky items before RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 1. Before RE-ORG: a section of the collection storage area, which included furniture and other bulky objects.

The same section of the collection storage area, with furniture and costumes before RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 2. Before RE-ORG: view of the same section of the collection storage area, which shows other furniture and costumes.

Another section of the collection storage area, with works of art on paper, furniture and other objects before RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 3. Before RE-ORG: another section of the collection storage area, which included works of art on paper, furniture and other objects.

Framed works kept outside of dedicated storage space, on the floor and not organized properly before RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 4. Before RE-ORG: framed works were kept outside of dedicated storage spaces, were on the floor and were not organized using a suitable storage system.

Project details

Within a year, the Maison de Mère d’Youville was able to make the following storage improvements:

Custom boxes built to store certain objects from the permanent exhibit during RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 5. During RE-ORG: custom boxes were constructed to store certain objects from the permanent exhibit (two mock-ups, a papier-mâché statue and an old painting).

Costumes grouped together in a side section of the storage room to free up floor space in the main section after RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 6. After RE-ORG: costumes were grouped together in a side section of the storage area, freeing up floor space in the main section.

Track hanging system installed for the stations of the cross after RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 7. After RE-ORG: a track hanging system was installed for the stations of the cross.

Drawer cabinets grouped together to optimize floor space after RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 8. After RE-ORG: drawer cabinets grouped together to optimize floor space.

Furniture grouped together on metal shelves to optimize the use of vertical space in the room, after RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 9. After RE-ORG: furniture grouped together on metal shelves, which optimizes the use of vertical space in the room.

Framed works grouped together in a custom storage unit after RE-ORG

© ASGM L272-Maison de Mère d’Youville, Montréal, storage reorganization
Figure 10. After RE-ORG: framed works were grouped together in a custom storage unit.

The project took 85 days to complete with the help of no more than 2 team members during phases 1 to 3 and 25 team members during phase 4 (Table 1).

Table 1: timeline and breakdown of project phases
RE-ORG phase Number of days to complete Number of team members
1. Getting started 20 2
2. Storage condition report 5 2
3. Storage action plan 10 2
4. Storage reorganization implementation 50 25

The RE-ORG project cost $24,378. More than half of this amount was allocated to staff time and external contracted services (Table 2). Less than a third of the budget was spent on tools and storage furniture. The Maison de Mère d’Youville was also successful in securing a $9,920 grant from the Museums Assistance Program for the project.

Table 2: budget breakdown
Budget item Amount (CAN$)
Staff time 16,053
Tools, supplies and materials 5,930
Storage furniture 1,645
External services (such as contractors) 750
Total project cost 24,378

Based on the RE-ORG Self-evaluation Tool for Collections in Storage (PDF version), the Maison de Mère d’Youville made improvements in all four of the RE-ORG components: “management,” “building and space,” “collection” and “furniture and small equipment.”

The results in Table 3 show that equal improvements (15%) were made in the “building and space,” “collection” and “furniture and small equipment” components (Figure 11).

Table 3: self-evaluation results for storage
RE-ORG component Score (before) Score (after)
Management (maximum of 42 points) 22 23
Building and space (maximum of 54 points) 31 39
Collection (maximum of 51 points) 38 46
Furniture and small equipment (maximum of 33 points) 22 27
Graph illustrating the percentage of improvement according to the scores from the self assessment tool of the RE-ORG project at the Youville Mother House, details below

© Government of Canada, Canadian Conservation Institute. CCI 132794-0032
Figure 11. 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 11
RE-ORG component Percentage of improvement
Management 3%
Building and space 15%
Collection 15%
Furniture and small equipment 15%

Lesson learned

Based on the experience of the Maison de Mère d’Youville, the following factors should be considered in future RE-ORG projects:

Additional resources

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