Longmont Museum Collection Finds New Home As Organization Goes On

March 18, 2018

Amid thousands of cardboard boxes yet to be unpacked Friday, Longmont Museum interim director Erik Mason was drawn to the turkey egg incubator, the largest item inside the newly opened, 15,000-square-foot storage facility for the collection.

The incubator from the Longmont Foods plant that closed in 2011 was the last of the 17,000 artifacts to be moved last month into the new museum storage facility in east Longmont on County Road 5, south off of Colo. 119.

“It has all of these racks, they all held a turkey egg. There’s a mechanism that kind of rocks it so that it mimics being in a nest,” Mason said.

When movers deposited the massive device near the entrance of the new storage warehouse, Mason said it was a celebratory moment for his staff, who had waited five years for the collection’s move to a permanent home.

“That was the day I brought in doughnuts, the next week was when we went out to lunch to celebrate that we had completed that first move and we were out of the other space,” Mason said.

In the last several weeks, the museum’s entire collection was moved from a temporary storage area on Left Hand Circle, to where it was taken in 2012 when it was forced out of the building now occupied by Cheese Importers on Main Street.

Supplying snacks, taking his team out to eat and encouraging staff to use some vacation days after the move were all tactics Mason was advised to employ to keep staff sane during the transition at a Mountain-Plains Museum Association conference in October.

Though the items are now all inside the new building — construction of which cost $2.3 million — there is still much more work to be done, as many of them have to be unpacked and get their new storage shelf location logged into the museum’s database.

On occasions when a researcher needs to access an item that can’t be examined at the museum itself, Mason said he or she could seek permission to search the database for its placement among the stacks of racks within dozens of new metal cabinets lining the warehouse walls.

“When we were at Cheese Importers, everything was on shelves, but this is a lot more efficient way to store things, and it’s more protected as well since there’s the (cabinet) doors that protect things from light and dust,” Mason said.

He estimates it will take about a year-and-a-half for him and staffers like Meagan Callahan — who was hired through a federal grant to help unpack and organize the collection — to make way through all the boxes and enter new details about each item in the catalogue.

“We are over here pretty much full time right now. It’s kind of a cool place in the move,” Mason said. “We will be undoubtedly uncovering things we didn’t even know we had, that’s the fun thing about this. Everything has really been packed for the last five years. There’s a lot of things you’ve seen once and forgotten, or rarely because they were on a high shelf.”

The Boulder History Museum formerly located at 12th Street and Euclid Avenue is undergoing a move of its own as well as a name change.

It will officially reopen May 19 as the Museum of Boulder at the northwest corner of Pine Street and Broadway with temporary exhibits before permanent exhibits are set up in the fall, according to curator of education Emily Zinn.

The pieces that were on display at the old location are being stored at the museum’s warehouse in Gunbarrel.

Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, slounsberry@prairiemountainmedia.com and twitter.com/samlounz .