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The Valentine 

Collections Storage Plan

In 2018 the Valentine Museum engaged WJ&A to complete a volumetric analysis for their collections storage space needs for incorporation into planning for a new collections facility. The assessment identified a significant increase in space necessary to safely accommodate the growing collection over the next 25 years. This increased space need spurred the Museum’s Board and Staff to collaboratively reimagine the Museum’s role in the Richmond community, ultimately leading to reevaluation and refinement of their collections for telling the numerous and rich stories of Richmond. Read more about their work here.

Project Background

The Valentine is home to a vast collection of Archives, Costumes & Textiles, and Historic Objects that share and explore the varied histories of Richmond, VA through preservation and interpretation. After a preliminary Collections Storage Assessment, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Museum hired WJ&A to prepare a Collections Storage Plan.

Volumetric Data Collection

WJ&A approached collecting data for this plan by first conducting a general survey of the collections material in each location. In calculating space needed, WJ&A considered a variety of factors that effect collections storage:

  1. Object type, materials, and construction

  2. Collections vulnerability and preservation needs

  3. Decompression

  4. Circulation, access, and collection use

  5. Institutional collections organization

  6. Growth of the collection

  7. Equipment type

  8. Object supports, containers and housing


Final Calculations

The volumetric analysis of the collections storage plan calculated a 150% increase in cubic feet to accommodate current collection storage needs plus 25 years of growth – requiring a building of roughly 400,000 square feet. The findings of the plan launched The Valentine into a deep reflection about their collections and mission.

Reimagining Collections 

In late 2019, the Museum drafted a Collection Refinement Strategy that would help guide and strategize their commitments to active collecting and help them critically analyze the collections they use to tell the stories of Richmond.

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