Be Smart About Art

Why you need a boat house

written by: Susan Mumford Jan. 15, 2017 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan Mumford + Chris King's Blog 1656 views

Why you need a boat house

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Have you ever been inside a boat house? Or have you discovered the weird and wonderful varieties of them out in the world? I hadn’t particularly thought about boat houses until recently happening upon the one presented in the image, which has room to house two speed boats that glide the waters of a large lake.

While it turns out to be a basic structure, I was impressed by the sturdy nature of the construction and the protection that it provides. It was when I noticed that nearby was a ramp up from the water that led to a landing where a boat could be left in the open, (and thereby at the mercy of the elements), that I started to think about the importance of building one’s own ‘boat house’ for important assets, rather than leave items exposed and unprotected.

Items in transit…

In my years running professional development workshops for the art world, I’ve heard insurance brokers say not only once but several times that works of art are most at risk when in transit. This brings to mind a large bronze sculpture that was returned to London from a Chicago art fair with a great big gash in the side of a wooden crate. Thank goodness the actual work of art survived unscathed, thanks to lots of internal packing materials!

This danger applies to equally applies to other items too when being moved – consider for instance studio / gallery / office materials that will be at risk when you change premises or travel to a show near or far, with belongings ranging from computers to lights. And as it happens, another item on that same Chicago trip didn’t survive the outward journey: a printer. As a last minute addition to the check-on luggage, the limited packing job didn’t do the trick. (Do however note that plenty of gallerists ship printers to fairs, carefully packed into the safe environment of a crate.)

What are you doing to protect valuable items when being moved? Do you have readily available packing materials to use? You’ll want to pack things to differing standards if moving a short distance versus long distance. For long journeys, imagine the box being thrown across the room – seriously! This is how your precious items might very well be treated when they’re out of your hands. It’s brilliant to have wooden crates and heavy cardboard boxes that can be reused time and time again (the former using screws, not nails). And for the day to day, you’ll likely want to hand: bubble wrap, plastic wrap to go round frames and the sort (some know it as handy wrap) and reusable picture bags (jiffy / art bags). And for pricey or fragile works of art, custom-made boxes will be needed to keep them safe.

Stationery items…

What about when works of art and office kit isn’t being moved? It’s still important to think about how to keep them safe in their house. If there isn’t enough room to put pictures on a wall, at least put plastic wrap on the edges of the frames and stack them face to face (so that picture wires and the like don’t scratch the fronts of frames). And as for all of the other things you have… pay attention to how they’re being kept, so that they last.

It’s worth putting in the thought and effort to take care of business assets. Otherwise, they’ll depreciate faster than you can afford. Plus, you might enjoy coming up with creative solutions to take good care about your important works of art and belongings that have taken time to create and accrue. 


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