Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

Everyone knows that moves require boxes, but moving a whole Archive Service requires a lot of boxes, and of specific types too. In our very first Store Tours vlog we pointed out the stacks of newly-arrived boxes from our first big order, but since then we've had more deliveries, the contents of which are now being put to work in boxing-up (and reboxing!) exercises across our various strongrooms. These archive standard boxes aren't a temporary transportation measure either - each will be placed as-is into our new dedicated facility, which is why we're taking such care in picking the right packaging solutions for the long term protection and happiness of our collections.

That first delivery of 1000 archive boxes took a morning's work to unpack and stow safely away in the City Central Library & Archives building, and since then we've been back and forwards taking trolleys of boxes whenever and wherever they're needed. The first sizeable chunk was moved to Store E so that our volunteers could begin boxing up the pamphlets there (a work in progress when we filmed that particular Store Tour) and further batches have already been used to rebox archive material in stores B & C as well.

Recently another 16 pallet box delivery arrived, this time containing multiple sizes of boxes to help with the packaging of archive volumes. Barely was the plastic wrap off these monolithic stacks before some were whisked up to Store E to be put to work packaging up the Minton Archive's volume shelves (again mentioned in the Store Tour vlog), something we'll hopefully cover in more detail in a future post.

Thankfully not all our box deliveries are measured by the pallet, though this doesn't make them any less important. One smaller delivery, from a specialist preservation equipment company, included a tower of archival ringbinder boxes - plus matching slide storage sleeves - alongside reels of tying tape and a whole smorgasbord of weights and cushion rests that will be used to look after archive material in our new Reading Room.

Best of all, thanks to the Archive Service's conservator we also have the knowledge to make our own boxes when the need arises! At the end of a recent volunteer manual handling training session we were taken through the process of turning some flat archival board into a custom-made phase box. These types of boxes are individually crafted for each item and, ever up for a challenge, our first application of this newly-acquired skill is to give each of the Minton pattern books their own made-to-measure enclosure... that's in excess of 500 volumes if you're wondering! 😅

Posted on 3rd March, 2023