What We Do and How We Do It - Part 2 - Floorplans

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In Part 1 of ‘Organizing the Move’ we looked at the overall process and steps we were taking to ensure a safe and successful move experience. With this and future posts we will delve a little further into the various organizational and motivational tools we are using as well as exploring in detail the different stages of artifact processing leading up to the move. Today, in Part 2 we will look at one of the organizational tools that help to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of the move. Sounds boring right? Well think again!  You are in for a colorful treat…

Part 2 – Ooooo, colors!

For the archaeology portion of the move, one of our main tools to assist with organization is color-coded floor plans of the current storage facilities. These floorplans act as visual progress charts that allow everyone involved to see what has been completed and what remains to be done.


Three floorplans were created for the packing phase of the move, two in Kroeber 20A and one for the Hearst Gym Basement. Due to a lack of storage space over the years, some portions of collections have been stored wherever space can be found rather than with objects from the same region, country or state. One of the goals of the move is to reunite these somewhat scattered collections and house them together geographically. As a result, a quick way of identifying these geographic groupings was needed.

Different colors were assigned to geographic regions, countries, or (in the case of California), states (Figure 1). If a cabinet contains objects from the same geographic location, the cabinet on the floorplan is outlined (and sometimes in-filled) with the appropriate corresponding color. If the cabinet contents are from different geographic locations, colored dots corresponding to the various locations are placed on the left-hand side of the cabinet on the floorplan.

Figure 1.  A small portion of one of three floor plans currently in use for the PAHMA move.


Figure 1.  A small portion of one of three floor plans currently in use for the PAHMA move. On the left is the color coding legend for each cabinet based on where the cabinet contents are from as well as the progress (or action) legend for each cabinet.

By color-coding geographic designations on the floorplan we are able to see at-a-glance what cabinets are priorities based on which geographic location is being worked on. As an example, Egypt is the first collection to be rehoused, photographed, barcoded, and moved. Based on the above floorplan (Figure 1) we are able to determine quickly that one entire cabinet and one partial cabinet are the priority.

A second use for the floorplans is to record the progress or action that has occurred for each cabinet. All ‘action’ progress is recorded on the right-hand side of the cabinet on the floorplan. This helps to keep track of the headway made by different departments at the same time in one location (i.e., Registration’s inventories, the Archaeologist’s key information entry, and barcode creation and association) while significantly decreasing the need for meetings or copious emails between departments.

Our next Organization blog post will look at the multi-colored cabinet and drawer checklists that further help to keep everyone motivated, on track, and of course, organized. So keep an eye out, I promise it will be pretty!

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