The Polk Museum of Art has let out its proverbial belt a notch or two with the recent refurbishment of its Collections Storage area.

The $150,000 project funded through an anonymous donation creates additional space within the same amount of square footage for its growing body of work. The museum’s Permanent Collection has tripled since moving into its current location in 1988.

Just what is Collections Storage, you ask?  

“It implies a physical space, as well as a process,” Executive Director Claire Orologas says.

It is a dedicated space for storing artwork and related archival materials. It also is an ongoing process for caring for the collection.

“Good collection storage is a major component of any museum’s preventive conservation and collections care program,” Orologas says. “A well-planned and organized storage space reduces risks to the collection and provides accessibility.”

The museum’s Collections Storage includes two rooms – one that stores mostly 2D artwork, and the other is for 3D sculptures, including items from the Pre-Columbian, Asian and African collections. 

The construction project included enclosing a doorway to create one way in and out, which increases security, says Collections Manager Loren Plunkett. They also relocated a doorway to create room for additional shelving.

Much of the framed artwork in the Permanent Collection hangs on metal screens, but some of it is sturdy enough that it can be stored on shelves.

“This makes room for additional screen space needed for future acquisitions and gives us room for growth,” Plunkett says.

The frame shop was moved from the second floor of one of the Collections Storage rooms into an empty office, which opened up about 360 square feet of space. An added hinged gate enables curatorial staff to store large sculptures that are not often moved.

The project began in July 2016 and will be completed by mid-April when the shelving is installed.