How to keep your paintings and artefacts safe from flooding

February 12, 2016

Museums, galleries and National Trust sites across Britain are being urged to consider the safety of their treasured art and artefacts.How to keep your paintings and artefacts safe from flooding

This advice comes as Scotland and the north of England have battled unprecedented floods. Record rainfall left areas in Yorkshire, Durham and huge swathes of Scotland battling against high water. 

The floods present a huge challenge for city centre museums and galleries, and just as importantly, for more isolated rural estates.

Keeping priceless museum artefacts and works of art safe in times of freak weather takes careful planning and management. 

 It’s important to ensure sufficient plans are in place to cope in any future emergency. The recent rains are a reminder that having an up to date contingency plan is extremely important.

You never know where the floods are going to strike next and current research seems to suggest that global warming could make flooding even more likely in future. So it is clearly important to be prepared.

During times of flooding we increasingly find that clients see us as an extra ‘emergency service’ to move pieces quickly, safely and securely when needed. But there are plenty of measures that can be taken in advance to help make the process easier. 

Here is Crown’s five-point plan to keeping art and artefacts safe in case of flooding:

  1. Update your current evacuation plan for works of art and museum pieces, ensuring staff are fully trained in what to do in an emergency. Move valuable or fragile items to a higher floor if possible, ahead of rainfall.
  2. Have the correct materials already in place to help with evacuation – for instance polythene, waterproof covers and soft-wrapping materials. Many museums, galleries and National Trusts have an 'Emergency Kit' in place, but it's wise to keep it updated as often as possible.
  3. Make sure labeling and documentation procedures are in place for when expert movers arrive.
  4. Understand which pieces are your key items so they can be evacuated as priority. These items should be kept nearer the exit in any storage facility.
  5. Use expert art movers who have their own storage and understand the challenge of moving art.

For more information on how Crown can support you with putting a plan in place get in touch today. Call us on: 44 (0)20 7732 7610 or email:

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