Irene packs bladed weapons and sheaths from Aceh and Bali (Indonesia).

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. 

The week before Thanksgiving break, collection manager Lauren Fuka took some time from the demands of organizing the move to provide a status update. 

“Over the past two months, since our last update, the team from Corrigan has been at Kipke packing a wide variety of artifacts from our ethnographic collection: everything from weapons to brooms to masks to baskets,” she wrote. “In addition, the move of ethnographic textiles began last week. UMMAA has more than 500 boxes of textiles (including blankets, clothing, flags, cloth samples, embroidery, and more) from all over the world. The Corrigan team has already moved 140 textile boxes to RMC.”

Fuka is pleased with the progress to date. “It is a bit mind-boggling to think that this is Month 18. We are coming down the home stretch. I am excited to say that there are only 47 cabinets and shelving units remaining that still have to be packed and moved. I feel like the end is in sight.”

That being said, she explained that 47 is actually “a really big number, because it’s more than the number of cabinets in North America, Near East, and Latin America ranges at Ruthven combined.” And moving those ranges took the better part of a year.

Baskets from Africa that have already moved from Kipke to RMC.

One of the pieces in the UMMAA textile collection is this tapa (bark) cloth with brown and black geometric designs from Polynesia.