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Collections Space

Collections Space Framework Plan

In September 2010, the Smithsonian launched a multi-year, highly collaborative pan-Institutional collections space planning initiative to document, analyze, and plan for addressing the Institution’s current and future collections space needs. With these goals in mind, the Smithsonian established an interdisciplinary Collections Space Steering Committee, co-chaired by the National Collections Program and Smithsonian Facilities, to assess current collections space conditions and to develop a framework plan with current, intermediate, and long-term recommendations for addressing projected pan-Institutional collections space requirements.

As part of this initiative, the Smithsonian completed a first-of-its-kind survey of existing collections space — representing more than 2.1 million square feet (17.5%) of Smithsonian building space. The study provided a snapshot of current collections space conditions and characterized the quality of collections space, storage equipment, accessibility, environmental conditions, security, and fire safety. The resultant Smithsonian Collections Space Framework Plan (CSFP) serves as a guide for short and long-term facilities capital, real estate, and collections care projects. Providing renovation and construction strategies to address collections space conditions, the CSFP seeks to improve the accessibility of collections, anticipate future collections growth, and eliminate reliance on leased space for collections storage.

CSFP Summary Report and Complete Findings

Suitland Collections Center Master Plan Overview

Read the SCC Executive Summary

Read the Master Plan

Read the Existing Conditions Report

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Summit on the Museum Preservation Environment


To reassess the state of environmental stewardship at the Smithsonian, the Summit on the Museum Preservation Environment initiated an interdisciplinary approach to define best practices for the preservation environment through the promotion of collaborative dialogue among subject-matter specialists. Facilitating discussions among Smithsonian staff and external professionals, the Summit recognized the need for improved communication and collaborative, evidence-based decision making among museum professional disciplines and the stakeholders who share responsibility for the design, maintenance, and management of the collections environment from building envelope to microclimates.

Co-edited by Sarah Stauderman and Bill Tompkins, the publication of Summit Proceedings by the SI Scholarly Press in 2016 contributes to the growing national and international conversations on sustainability in the preservation and management of museum collections. The Proceedings include the Declaration on the Collections Preservation Environment, the Institution’s goals related to the collections preservation environment and guidance for sustainable and interdisciplinary decision-making. The far-reaching and positive impacts of the Summit demonstrate the Smithsonian’s commitment to proper stewardship of cultural heritage and the planet.

Proceedings of the Smithsonian Institution Summit on the Museum Preservation Environment

One strategy to increase efficient space use is by sharing collections spaces across the Institution, where appropriate. Space Sharing discussion guides and agreement templates for Smithsonian staff can be found on the NCP Sharepoint site.

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