Become a member and access advice from fellow members! Below is an example of the kinds of topics discussed through our Member Listserv. Fellow members are always willing to lend a helping hand!

Handy Tips for Solidifying Liquids

Model makers, especially model railroad people, use a solidifying clear liquid plastic for water effects.   You will find it available at BC Shaver & Hobbies at 742 Fort Street in Victoria.

“You  might try using ordinary gelatine, available at any grocery store.  If you heat it and allow it to cool in sufficient quantities (you can test—-it’s cheap!) you should get a clear, solid mass which won’t spill.”

“You could use clear epoxy resin to simulate water. You could experiment with the resin and food colouring for the coffee. Use epoxy resin instead of polyester because polyester resin generates too much heat as it cures. Another approach would be to see what a hobby shop has to offer. Model railway hobbyists recreate “water” all the time in their layouts, so call a hobby shop and see what they recommend. No matter what you use, be prepared to sacrifice the glass and the cup.”

“Try experimenting with adding a bit of clear gelatin powder to the coffee. Just a bit because if you use too much the colour of the coffee will change or it will look too much like jell-o.”

“You could use gelatin, if it’s for a limited time. If it’s for a longer period of time, go to a craft store and ask for the gel candle supplies. The liquid used for that is clear, like water, and can be dyed to coffee colour. That can definitively be left out and will last for a really long time.”

I’m a model railroader and I use acrylic water from Wal-Mart. It works very well, though it does tend to remain tacky after it dries.  We applied some polyurethane to the parts that were still tacky and in a couple of days there were dry.  Bonus is that it is cheap!

“You can try one of the many food replica vendors:

“Though we don’t have “solid” tea in a cup in one of our displays we have found a very good solution for our tea cup with a spot of tea in it as if the lady had simply left the letter writing on the table and will be right back. We use coffee, just a small amount to lightly colour the water to look like tea.  We tried actual tea once but it does get mouldy and sludgy after a few days so we always had to clean it out. The coffee doesn’t seem to “mould”. Now we also found that it evaporated quite quickly especially since the display was directly under one or our air vents.  We solved that problem by using a good squirt of DAWN into the tea/coffee.  It thickened the “tea” so as not to be so quick to spill out and we only have to add a little water to the cup once a month now.”

Handy Tips for Moving Collections

“In 2015, the North Van Museum created a fantastic manual for moving a mixed history collection, written by Paola Merkins.”

“I managed the Maritime Museum of BC’s collections move last year. The resources I found the most valuable were:

1. The Science Museum of Minnesota’s guide entitled “Moving the Mountain.”  You can download it free from the link below.  It covers a museum move from the planning and grant writing stage through every bump and turn they took in moving their very large collection. Some of it wasn’t applicable to our limited budget / short timeline situation but in general, it’s written with humour and sound advice.  They also used lots of volunteers in their move (which is sometimes unusual for big museums) but obviously the MMBC heavily relied on volunteers – we could not have accomplished this major task without them!!!

2. There are also a lot of great videos on youtube that go into detail regarding a collection move.  One of the best is from the National Museum of the American Indian.  Again, it’s written from the point of view of a large, well-endowed museum, but it may be good to show your Board, volunteers and other colleagues, so people can get a sense of how complex and how carefully museum moves need to be!

3.  If you do have time to write grants, you should consider the MAP grant (Museum Assistance Program for Collections) through Canada Heritage.  My former colleague and I wrote one and received $55,000 to purchase new museum-quality shelving for our off-site storage facility.  It was a true saving grace for our situation, as we had very little funds dedicated to this move.”

Moving the Museum
Moving the Collections | National Museum of the American Indian
Museums Assistance Program – Collections Management

“We have used a colour coding system to distinguish one collection from another.  Each Box is labeled (with contents listed) on two sides in colour and is assigned a number. Once a box is labeled, it is entered into our computer as “ready to be moved.” Once the box leaves, it is moved to a computer file that is marked “Moved to Storage.”  Since we are a small museum, we have found that this system is working well for us.”

“A good place to start is.. begin with the end in mind. Make sure your inventory is complete and up to date so that you know where objects are located at the new facility. Spend time thinking through the logistics of your box numbering strategy. Picture the end facility and how you want it to be accessed, and plan for that, not how your collection is currently stored. Communicate with everyone regularly as to the progress that you are making so they have a clear picture of their roles, responsibilities and possible ideas they have for enhancing the process.

Get outside agencies such as moving companies on board early, and get them to help you strategize the actual moving day process. That will help you to set intermediate goals. Consider a multi-phase move, as the smaller chunks you have to deal with, the easier it will be to keep track of things. You cannot track location of boxes while moving, but you can track on either end.. the less you have to deal with as a chunk on a given day, the better you can deal with the ends.”