RE-ORG project overview: PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and Community Museums Association of Prince Edward Island

The PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and the Community Museums Association of Prince Edward Island (CMA PEI) took part in the RE-ORG: Canada (Atlantic) training program in 2015–16. Their mixed collection of 90,000 objects was stored in 488 m²; 2250 of these objects were part of the RE-ORG project.

Project leads: Jason MacNeil and Lesley Caseley

Main storage challenges

View of main storage room, showing general overcrowding of aisles and units before RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 1. Before RE-ORG: view of main storage room, showing general overcrowding of aisles and units.

View of main storage room, showing how flat textiles were stored before RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 2. Before RE-ORG: general view of main storage room, showing how flat textiles were stored.

Storage of flat textiles, showing overcrowded shelves containing quilts before RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 3. Before RE-ORG: detail of the storage of flat textiles, showing overcrowded shelves containing quilts. Visibility of the collection for inspection and accessibility is limited.

Overcrowded drawers containing hats before RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 4. Before RE-ORG: overcrowded drawers containing hats. Safe access to the objects is difficult, and pressure on the materials can cause deformations.

Textile storage room showing how rolled textiles and garments were placed before RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 5. Before RE-ORG: textile storage room showing how rolled textiles and garments were placed or hung wherever space could be found.

Project details

Within a year, the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and CMA PEI were able to make the following storage improvements:

In summary, 197 large flat textiles and 157 drawers or boxes of textiles were rehoused. In addition, the database was updated with the new location for each item.

Installation of new compact shelving units during RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 6. During RE-ORG: installation of new compact shelving units.

Storage of textiles in boxes placed on the new compact shelving units in storage room after RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 7. After RE-ORG: storage of textiles in boxes placed on the new compact shelving units in the main storage room.

Rolling flat textiles in preparation for a hanging rolled system during RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 8. During RE-ORG: rolling flat textiles in preparation for a hanging rolled system.

Storage of rolled textiles in the textile storage room after RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 9. After RE-ORG: storage of rolled textiles in the textile storage room.

Repurposed pegboard used to store long and thin objects after RE-ORG

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 10. After RE-ORG: a repurposed pegboard mounted to the back of cabinets and used to store long and thin objects.

The project took 9 months to complete, with the help of no more than 4 team members during phases 1 to 3 and 7 team members during phase 4 (Table 1, Figure 11).

Table 1: timeline and breakdown of project phases
RE-ORG phase Number of weeks / months to complete Number of team members
1. Getting started 2 weeks 3
2. Storage condition report 4 weeks 3
3. Storage action plan 6 weeks 4
4. Storage reorganization implementation 6 months 7
RE-ORG project team at PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation

© Photo courtesy of Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation
Figure 11. RE-ORG project team.

The RE-ORG project cost $66,580 to complete, with more than half of the budget being allocated to staff time and external services. Less than a quarter of the budget was spent on tools and storage furniture. The PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation was also successful in securing a $10,000 grant from the Museums Assistance Program for the project, as well as $12,610 from other sources.

Table 2: budget breakdown
Budget item Amount (CAN$)
Staff time 26,956
Tools, supplies and materials 6,235
Storage furniture 9,363
External services (such as contractors) 24,026
Total project cost 66,580

Based on the RE-ORG Self-evaluation Tool for Collections in Storage (PDF Version), the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation 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 “furniture and small equipment” component experienced the largest improvement with an increase of 39% (Figure 12).

Table 3: self-evaluation results for storage
RE-ORG component Score (before) Score (after)
Management (maximum of 42 points) 19 24
Building and space (maximum of 54 points) 21 37
Collection (maximum of 51 points) 27 44
Furniture and small equipment (maximum of 33 points) 16 29
Graph illustrating the percentage of improvement to the scores for the RE-ORG self-evaluation tool for the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation, details below

© Government of Canada, Canadian Conservation Institute. CCI 132794-0056
Figure 12. Graph illustrating the percentage of improvement to the score for the RE-ORG self-evaluation tool, calculated by comparing scores before and after the storage reorganization project.

Description of Figure 12
RE-ORG component Percentage of improvement
Management 17%
Building and space 30%
Collection 31%
Furniture and small equipment 39%

Lessons learned

Based on the experience of the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation, the following should be considered in future RE-ORG projects:

Additional resources

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