With clients looking to store artwork for days, weeks, months, and even years, it’s imperative that storage facilities are secure in every sense. Every detail should be considered, including the characteristics of each artwork, the length of storage time needed, and the level of access needed based on the activity of your collection. From there, an experienced team will map out a storage plan that fits your specific artwork’s needs.
When it comes to protecting and caring for art, climate plays a vital role. Every medium requires a specific habitat to preserve the integrity of the art.
Climate Storage Options
Depending on your piece or pieces, you will need to decide on climate-controlled storage or non-climate storage.
With climate-controlled storage, both temperature and humidity levels are regulated. Climate controlled storage works well for a variety of mediums, sizes, and quantities of artwork. The industry standard for climate storage is a year-long temperature between 70 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity levels should be consistently monitored as well and maintained at around 50%. Your storage facility’s team should always stay up-to-date with current research on how to best conserve art of different materials.
Non-climate, or heated storage, may be a good option for outdoor sculptures, exhibition furniture, or works that will be crated and stable enough for the regular climate in the area that you’re storing them. For example, Art Work FAS is located in the Pacific Northwest, so pieces that aren’t extra sensitive can be stored in a non-climate controlled environment since we have a very temperate climate. If you’re storing art in an area that has more extreme temperatures or humidity fluctuations, non-climate controlled storage won’t be the best route to take for storage.
Temperature and humidity go hand-in-hand, and extreme changes in either or both of these factors can contribute to or hasten material deterioration. All materials are subject to deterioration, such as cracking, warping, molding, melting (particularly for encaustics or wax works), and peeling. Extreme humidity is of particular concern with materials that easily absorb moisture such as paper, wood, textiles, woven pieces, and organic materials (bones or fur). Adhesives can also loosen and release with extreme climate changes which could lead to the need to reframe works with hinged mounting or those that are “floating” within a frame.
While a conservator can repair and restore many types of damaged works to varying degrees, there are always cases of items that will be damaged beyond repair. It’s always in the best interest of any piece to be proactive and take appropriate precautions in advance.
In addition to climate control, there are various benefits of storing fine art in a storage facility: light (UV) protection, pest control, professional handling, appropriate packing, protection from dust and pollen, particulate control, and added security. The management of all environmental factors along with safe handling helps to ensure works of any material will be kept safe for the future.
For nearly 30 years, Art Work Fine Art Services has served as the trusted logistics partner to some of America’s most highly-regarded museums, galleries, collectors, and artists. We specialize in expert and custom solutions for domestic and international shipping, warehousing, and preservation of artwork. Our team is made up of passionate experts in many mediums, including design, painting, printmaking, carpentry, photography, and sculpture. Art Work FAS offers services in Portland and Seattle, in addition to California’s Bay Area and Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York City, and across the Rocky Mountains.
To request an estimate or find out more about the services Art Work Fine Art Services offers, visit artworkfas.com.