Thinking outside the box (or inside lots of little ones)
The Museum of Australian Democracy is currently undertaking a program called the Great Badge Swap. So far we have received hundreds of badges from the public, each one telling a different and unique story about democracy.
This presents an interesting challenge for our Collections Management team. The safety of the badges is paramount and they must be stored so they are protected. It is also important that the badges are easily accessible as the Curators and other staff at the museum will be exploring and researching the collection for upcoming exhibitions. The storage footprint is also something that needs to be considered, as the museum has a growing collection and it is important to plan to accommodate future growth.
We’ve brainstormed several ideas including using archival folders with compartmentalised plastic sleeves, storing the badges in specimen drawers like the kinds that are used for entomology (we can dream, can’t we?) as well as getting a system custom made. We’ve now found a modular box system that is made by a conservation supplies company that is perfect for the job! It’s comprised of a rectangular box and lid (approximately 60cm x 40cm) with lots of little boxes inside that act as compartments. The system is very flexible as we can use different sized boxes for a variety of shapes and sizes. It’s all made out of archival cardboard and we are using Dacron as padding in the bottom so the badges don’t slide around.
We’re really happy with the result. Our badge collection is protected from light and dust (although our stores already have fantastic environmental conditions). The boxes are also light and easy for staff to carry and stack in our collection store. They are easily accessible – once you open the lid you can instantly see all the individual badges. Plus, it’s also easy to move the separate badges around in the smaller boxes without having to handle them. We now have a system that is easily accessible, reduces handling and the impact on the objects, is flexible and has a minimal storage footprint.
So, do you have a badge that tells an important story about you and democracy? We have the perfect home for it.