Over the next 20 months, movers will carefully pack three million artifacts from the UMMAA (from both Ruthven and Kipke), load them onto trucks, and unpack them at their new home on Varsity Drive in south Ann Arbor. Keep track of the progress with our monthly updates, and read more here.
It’s July, and despite exceedingly hot, humid days, the movers are on schedule. Two movers are working full time to pack artifacts at Ruthven. In June, they moved about 13,000 ethnobotanical samples (22 cabinets worth) in about two and a half weeks. The samples (seeds, leaves, wood, fiber, flowers, roots, and charcoal) were collected in the past 90 years from archaeological sites in 42 countries. Latin American artifacts were next (seven cabinets): mostly ceramic vessels and boxes of sherds, mainly from Mexico, Peru, and Panama. In mid-July, it was time for Near Eastern artifacts—three cabinets full, plus eight reconstructed ceramic vessels. See collection manager Lauren Fuka’s photo essay (below) for a look at how to move a large, fragile, extremely old pot.
At Kipke, students and staff have built more than 1,500 custom object mounts to support delicate artifacts for the trip to Varsity Drive. Some custom mounts can take most of a day to build. See collection manager Kerri Wilhelm’s photo (below) of the custom mount for two model canoes. They’ve also pre-packed more than 2,200 objects and inventoried 194 cabinets. The diversity of artifacts is astonishing, notes Kerri: objects can be a few centimeters long or more than eight feet, and can weigh from a few grams up to nearly 100 pounds.