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Whitworth Art Gallery 


The Brief:

The Rackline Project team successfully completed the installation of 4 special collection controlled-environment storerooms, within the extended Whitworth Art Gallery Museum.

The ultimate vision of the Whitworth Art Gallery from the tender submission was to create an archive storage facility that was more accessible to the Manchester public, and to create store environments that were both specialist to the needs of the collections, as well as increasing retrieval times and preserving the collections long term, a vision that is shared by the requirements of this contract.

The Rackline Project team were successfully awarded the Whitworth Museum tender following a detailed tender submission and extensive interview process.



The Process:

Initial data for collection types, sizes and quantities were provided by the Whitworth team; however, the Rackline team produced a detailed audit of the collections and established new concepts on storage requirements for some of the non-standard collections.

The ultimate goal of the Whitworth Art Gallery curatorial team was to have a storage system that housed the collections in a more accessible manor that protected and displayed the collections in the most beneficial way. This was achieved by Rackline with an open-minded design approach, and by working very closely with each individual collections curator to establish their requirements and collection needs.

Rackline liaised closely with the main contractor ISG to co-ordinate timings and deliveries of the mobile shelving to all 4 stores.

Throughout all stages of design, installation and transfer of collections to the new stores, Rackline worked closely with all of the Whitworth project team, and still remain an open point of contact during the completion of the re-canting process.



“We were very impressed by Andy Reed, the Rackline designer who made an excellent assessment of our overall collection size and needs, listened carefully to our requests and design suggestions, and responded appropriately. The initial design proposal accommodated all our existing systems and provided for everything we currently store, plus giving us extra capacity – the design made highly efficient use of the space throughout. We have continued and will continue to work closely with Rackline to add to and improve the storage systems as our storage needs develop and evolve.”

Nicola Walker

Head of Collection Care & Access, the Whitworth / Manchester Museum