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How to Move Gallery and Museum Collections

Feb 25. 2022

Museum and gallery collections are comprised of fragile items or heavy and cumbersome items and need special care and attention when it comes to relocating them, no matter whether it’s an internal relocation, a move to a new site or even an international move. Their value and cultural significance warrant the items to be prepared properly and handled with expertise. When it comes to organising such a move, developing a work plan and schedule, devising a communications strategy for stakeholders and choosing a suitable removal company will be an involved process. Here are a few useful tips for along the way:

• It’s most likely that the move will involve storage. A professional removal company will be able to arrange storage. You’ll need to consider the type and size of storage required depending on the nature of the collection and the appropriate temperature/ conditions. It’s also important to factor in the frequency of access that you’ll need to the collection. So, for example, if you don’t need to retrieve items at regular intervals and need indoor storage, you may be able to opt for containerised storage.

• There will need to be a thorough audit of every piece that needs to be moved. This maybe a rather time consuming process but will give you an opportunity to have an up to date account of every item in the collection, its condition and location. This will also help the appointed removal company as they will need to calculate the volume to be moved and stored.

• Depending on the nature of the exhibition pieces, some items may need to be assessed by conservators and may need treatment prior to the move. The items of course need to be cleaned, particularly if they are going into storage.

• Appropriate packing will be very important to really protect the pieces in transit and if they go into storage. Discuss the packing process with the moving company as they should be able to arrange different types of packing materials. For example, some items may need to be ‘export-wrapped.’ Artwork will need either to be packed into special picture/ mirror cartons- which should be of a professional grade cardboard or they should have bespoke crates made for them to fully ensure their safety.

Burke Bros Moving Group can be of assistance if you require help moving museum collections or collections of art. We can offer a complete service covering the transportation, storage, and international shipping of works of art.

Our dedicated arts logistics team are on hand to co-ordinate the movement of works of art that need to make their way to their next landmark, or into storage for a period of time. Burke Bros packing and removal crews are professional trained to handle works with the upmost care; whether you require collections to be moved across the globe, across the country or internally.

Our international services cover transportation via deep sea shipping or airfreight to any worldwide destination and our European division co-ordinate fine art transportation to all European destinations with regular weekly services and groupages to France.  Should you need safe and secure storage, we can help here too; as we offer containerised storage, secure self access rooms as well as commercial storage and archive storage. If you require storage as destination, we can arrange this with our network of trusted international agents.


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