Introduction (2 of 11)

What factors affect the choice of packaging?

When packing objects that are to be moved, the packaging is mainly used for protection against damage, for the security of the object, and for the safety of people moving the object.

The packing materials will generally only be needed for a short period of time, i.e. while the object is being moved. Therefore, the support of the object is the most important consideration. The quality of the packing materials is of less importance as they are only temporary, so will have less of an impact on the object. However, it should be noted that objects are often left in temporary packaging for much longer than originally intended. If this is anticipated, the quality of packing materials should be taken into consideration. Additionally, if an object is going to be moved several times (for example, as part of a touring exhibition) then a bespoke box or case (made from archival quality materials, where possible) may be a more cost efficient option.

The distance and method of transport should also be considered. If an object is being moved within a building on a trolley (e.g. between a gallery and a store) then the packaging materials chosen do not need to be particularly robust. For example, a pot may be surrounded in tissue paper and placed in an open crate. However, if the same object is being packed for shipment by van and plane to a foreign country, it would need to be packed for protection against much more aggressive movement, and may require a lidded crate with internal supports cut to fit the object precisely.