Contemporary Collections: Preprints from the AICCM National Conference 17th g 19th October 2007 Brisbane pp. 5-11
Risks associated with fire hazards of thousands of litres of ethanol preserved specimens and the incipient hazard of asbestos in the main collection and curatorial building of the Western Australian Museum demanded attention. The building was closed to the public in February 2003 and vacated by March 2005. The safe and secure movement of more than 3.5 million items to a modern collections store was a major achievement in preventive conservation. More than 130,000 litres of ethanol preserved natural science specimens are now secure in a compliant store with a new wet-mist fire suppression system. The building conversion program and relocation into a tilt-slab concrete warehouse was achieved at a cost of only $1000 per square metre and a total project cost of $11 million. The paper reviews the challenges of moving collections and staff and demonstrates how good outcomes can be achieved through team work. The work demonstrates the need for conservators to integrate their skills with those of consultants, engineers, architects, builders and labourers.