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The Art of Moving Fine Art

Guest post by Laura McHolm

Moving and storing fine art is as intricate as a da Vinci and as calculated as a Dali. The process is custom and controlled, down to the temperature. The precision of art transportation whether from a museum or a home is critical to preserve the piece, as one wrong move can cause permanent damage. Like a museum, when moving a home, the fine art collection should be handled as a separate entity by specialized professionals. From paintings to sculptures, a provider of art services will ensure each piece is handled with bespoke care in a state-of-the-art facility.

To identify a provider of fine art transportation and storage it is important to look at their clientele to see if it includes museums and other high value collections as well as their portfolio of services. Top fine art services such as Mana Fine Arts provide art collection management, climate controlled storage, crating, framing, viewing rooms, shipping, logistics, art handling, conservation, restoration and more. When qualifying an art service provider for transport and storage it is important to ensure they offer and address the following steps and services.


A high-value art collection should be appraised by a qualified professional prior to moving. There are several kinds of art appraisals, including current value and replacement value. Be sure that you know the difference and get the right type of appraisal to fit your needs. To find a qualified art appraiser visit established art appraisal associations such as the American Society of Appraisers or the Appraisers Association of America.


An art transport provider should have art handlers and drivers that are fully trained in museum standards for art handling and art packing. When preparing art for transport, each piece is professionally wrapped and is placed in a custom wooden crate. A standard box will not properly protect the painting or sculpture. Custom crating is vital in protecting your fine art collection as it will fit each piece like a glove.

Crating specialists are fully trained in archival packing techniques and use top quality materials, compliant with International Standards of Phytosanitary Measure (ISPM 15). Each crate is then labeled and banded with detailed packing and handling instructions.

If your fine art collection is not museum worthy, but priceless in sentimental value, such as your grandmother’s antique porcelain vase, select a moving company with a proven track record in moving art. A moving company that does custom crating, has been in business for decades, has a stellar reputation and has worked with treasures in the past. Chances are this type of moving company will also have connections to fine art movers if your private collection also includes a Picasso or two.


When it comes to the trucks for art transport, they are not standard moving trucks. Each truck is equipped with climate control, maintaining temperature and humidity. The truck should also be designed with a special suspension system like Mana Fine Art’s “Air Ride” suspension system, designed around the truck’s rear axles. Be sure the truck is also equipped with an alarm system. Often, couriers and security cars can be requested to follow the trucks. The items are often accessible to clients with remote inventory control and 24-hour live customer service.


If you are storing your art during the moving process it is absolutely critical to ensure the storage facility is climate controlled to preserve fine art and antiques. Providers of art storage monitor temperature and humidity digitally and are recorded by a central control center, with regularly scheduled maintenance. The climate-controlled storage environments should be maintained at industry standards for temperature (70 degrees Fahrenheit +/- 3 degrees) and humidity (50% relative humidity +/- 3%). The art storage areas should also be free of natural light and windows, illuminated only by UV filtered fluorescent lighting. Rooms often can be customized with storage solutions, such as sliding shelves and oversized hanging racks. Private rooms can also be requested.

The storage facility must have around the clock protection. The security system should include a 24/7 online inventory system that allows clients to review their inventories at will and barcode tracking.

The key to a successful fine art move is a tailored solution for each collection. The bespoke service must include: custom crating, climate control, high-tech inventory systems and top of the line security. With these service elements and highly trained, experienced professionals you can hit the pillow at night knowing your treasures are in good hands.


Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.


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The Art of Moving Fine Art

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