Moved Lots of Really Heavy Stuff from Pueblo to Denver? Check!

Over the last year, there’s been a lot of activity between our Pueblo and Denver storage locations. History Colorado is nearing completion of a Museums for America Collections Stewardship grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to hire temporary staff and moving services to move collections from Pueblo to Denver.

In September 2016, a crew of four began the arduous task of packing and palletizing a Pueblo warehouse of collections to move to Denver. Dave Ryan, Amy Nilius, Daniel Thorne, and Kelly Loud worked in Pueblo every day for six months (some even more) to get our collections to Denver. We had a fifth crew member, History Colorado veteran Larry Zeschin, working at the Denver facility to help receive everything and make it more efficient. Not only were we working in Pueblo but Collections staff also continuously move and shuffle collections at the Denver facility to reorganize and efficiently receive everything.

I made almost weekly trips to Pueblo to assist the crew. We worked on sending semi trucks at least every two weeks and sometimes more often. Following the crew’s six-month Pueblo stint, staff continued to make regular trips working toward the goal of emptying the facility.

Here are just a few of the highlights from the project:

  • We created procedures and standards for packing and palletizing certain collection types and strategized rigging for oversize items like architectural items, large printing presses, and safes.
  • The Pueblo crew all certified to drive the forklift and created a safer platform system to transport staff and collections to and from the higher pallet rack levels (25 feet).
  • The Pueblo crew worked with the Pueblo Police Department and Fort Carson military staff to safely investigate and remove potentially active military ordinance; see our earlier blog post:
  • Daniel Thorne made several short videos featuring crew discoveries of highlight collection pieces like a record cabinet and William J. Palmer’s D&RG desk. You can view them on the History Colorado YouTube channel.

Right now, the Pueblo storage location is 95% empty. Collections are palletized and packed and waiting to go onto the last trucks to Denver. In total, we’ve sent 41 semis of collections from Pueblo to Denver (soon to be a total of 43 or 44). That works out to about 1,000 pallet spaces (40” x 48”), 12 vehicles, over 400 chairs, and over 200 large collection items like an entire post office, a gondola, and agricultural implements.

The project has been exhausting and I’m looking forward to doing less traveling. But, the reward and pride in completing this project is immense. The crew of four that worked in Pueblo was fabulous and this would never have been possible without them. Our collections are in a better environment and can get better care, security, and monitoring than before.

Melissa de Bie, July 2017