Life of the collections

When they enter the CNCS collection, costumes acquire a heritage object status. They are no longer worn on stage and are to be preserved in the best possible conditions.

The costumes are made of material that is particularly fragile. Discover in what conditions they are stored and how they are shown at their best.

The storage warehouse, designed by the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, reproduces the volume of the south wing that once flanked the main building.

The raw concrete has been covered with steel meshing, in reference to the textile nature of the collections.

The collection imposes very specific standards for its preservation. The building is in conformity with the most demanding sanitary and physical requirements for the protection of the pieces, in particular the air conditioning that regulates the temperature (at 18°) and the stabilization of the hygrometry (at 50%).

This 1730 m2 building is made up of :
  • rooms for preservation and study work: inventory, labeling of pieces, removing of dust by micro vacuuming, taking of photographs, preparation for exhibitions, mannequin dressing, etc.
  • storage areas for preserving the collections are able to contain around ten thousand costumes (or more than 20,000 pieces). Each level is equipped with « compactus » type custom made furniture for the preserved pieces.
  • costumes and accessories are stored by collection (National Library of France, Comédie-Française, National Opera of Paris, Régine Crespin, Bagouet, …) and by show.

The compactus

The « compactus » is a sort of cabinet including a wardrobe to hang costumes and drawers to place certain pieces horizontally. The cabinets are assembled in threes and form mobile rows placed on a false floor equipped with rails enabling them to be moved around.

The « compactus » provide optimal storage in terms of volume, preservation and security for the pieces. Once they are closed no empty gaps are left between them.