Date: February 2023

The task

The National Museum of Ireland (NMI) are consolidating their collections in the Central Resource Centre (CRC), Co. Dublin. There is a large amount of Geology specimens stored in Dublin 4, a building which the NMI have been using for over 40 years as a storage and research centre.

William Tracey & Sons T/A Tracey’s were tasked with packing, moving and unpacking a large amount of geology specimens that are stored in bespoke wooden drawers specifically designed to fit onto shelving in Swords.

The Process

Colin Fox from Tracey’s met with NMI which resulted in the following first-phase plan implemented over two days:

  1. Tracey’s arrived in D4 at 8:00am to pack and palletize the UCD Geology collection that the CRC Documentation Team will need to complete the recording and documenting of the collection. This will comprise the first phase of the current set of moves of material out of D4. The actual move of the collection material to CRC will be two days later.
  2. Palletization of oversized drawers which were ‘clam shelled’ so an empty drawer acts as protection and allows stacking. Bubble wrap, tissue and plastazote were placed in the drawers to act as buffers against vibrations. Large un-stackable drawers were placed on the top of each pallet as a one-layer ‘stack’ on the pallet depending on the fragile nature of the items in the top drawers. The top drawers were film wrapped to keep them in place.
  3. The drawers were placed onto shelves in the geology cabinets. For each cabinet, Tracey’s removed every alternate shelf to take the large drawers.
  4. The spare geology wooden drawers that were used as ‘clam shell’ protection can then be used by the Documentation Team for their additional needs. These drawers were placed by Tracey’s on pallets and the pallets stored. When completed the empty pallets from the move were brought back to D4 in preparation for the second phase involving the moving, consolidation and packing library material, insect drawers, dry zoology, large sheets of plastazote and IAD material.


Tracey’s commenced removing the drawers from the shelves packing them onto pallets and wrapping for transport which was completed by close of business that day. The next day Tracey’s crew arrived in D4, loaded the twelve pallets and proceeded to the CRC, Co. Dublin.

Tracey’s arrived at the CRC and were met by the NMI, Documentation Team. The geology collection was unloaded under supervision and brought into the Geology cage where Tracey’s crew unpacked the drawers from the pallets, removed the packing material and placed them onto shelving as directed by NMI personnel. All of the unpacking was completed the same day and the empty pallets and packing materials returned to D4 the following morning.

National Museum of Ireland