Corrigan movers Josh and Sarah carry a tray of artifacts from a cabinet in the Great Lakes Range at Ruthven. Photo by Lauren Fuka.

From now until spring 2018, movers will carefully pack three million artifacts from the UMMAA (from both Ruthven and Kipke), load them onto trucks, and unpack them at their new home at the Research Museums Center (formerly called Varsity Drive) in south Ann Arbor. Keep track of the progress with our bimonthly updates. 

Over the last ten months, the Ruthven Museums Building has slowly emptied. Box by box, cabinet by cabinet, range by range, the artifacts have been moved out. Now less than half of the last collection—the Great Lakes Range—remains.

“So far they have moved 343 drawers of artifacts, containing an estimated 10,200 boxes of stone tools, ceramic sherds, and archaeological samples from various counties throughout Michigan,” said Lauren Fuka, collection manager. “I think it will be another few weeks before we finish moving Great Lakes Range.”

By the end of April, the team from Corrigan Movers will have moved the last of the artifacts from Ruthven to the Research Museums Center (RMC).

Meanwhile, Team Kipke is bringing out of storage thousands of boxes of archaeological collections. Collections manager Kerri Wilhelm explained the process.

“It involves bringing a group of boxes upstairs—boxes that may have been closed for 20 years or more—opening them up and then transferring the contents into the trays from new museum cabinets.”

Two graduate student research assistants, Kyra Pazan and Lacey Carpenter, record information about what’s in each box. In the past few months they have unpacked about 75 boxes and loaded the material onto 82 new trays. Each box can contain hundreds of artifacts.

The full-scale move of Kipke artifacts to RMC will begin in April, as soon as all the Ruthven collections are moved.

Boxes of ceramic sherds from the Great Lakes Range. Movers will wrap these and move them to their new home in the RMC. Photo by Lauren Fuka.

Josh with one of the last carts of artifacts to be moved out of Ruthven. Photo by Lauren Fuka.

Graduate student Lacey Carpenter examines material from the UMMAA’s Latin American Archaeology Collection at Kipke. Photo by Kerri Wilhelm.

Graduate student Kyra Pazan unpacked a box full of pig mandibles collected from hunter-gatherer campsites in the Philippines. The mandibles are from the species Sus barbatus: “bearded pig.” Photo by Kerri Wilhelm.