At any given time, roughly 5% of the IMA’s permanent collection is on display in our galleries or at other institutions on loan. This means the remaining 95% of the collection is tucked away in our on-site storage. But that 95% doesn’t just idly sit there. A portion of it is moved and managed by the IMA’s Registration, Packing, and Storage Departments.
The IMA has roughly 20,000 square feet of space dedicated solely to the storage of its encyclopedic collection. About 4,000 square feet accommodates our prints and drawings collection. The remaining 16,000 is for paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, textiles and more. 16,000 square feet of space may sound like a lot of room, but for a collection of over 55,000 objects, every inch must be utilized.
The IMA has taken measures to maximize its storage areas. One of those ways is employing high-density storage technology like the kind we have for our textile and painting collections. The textile collection is housed in custom-made Delta Design cabinets, which store the collection according to the needs of each individual piece. Is it a carpet that needs to be rolled? Is it a dress that needs to be hung? These cabinets move along tracks that allow the user to have access to the collection one aisle at a time.
Here is a video showing how the storage system works: