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Impact Story
Moving Princeton’s precious, delicate bird collection
Impact Story
Moving Princeton’s precious, delicate bird collection
Client:
Office of Capital Projects at Princeton University
Meyer helps Princeton University move its one-of-a-kind bird collection to prepare a new home.
Introduction/Overview
As one of the world’s leading universities, Princeton has important research collections across many fields of study. One unique example – the Princeton Bird Collection within their Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology – contains a “taxidermy catalog of over 6,000 bird specimens, some of which are over 150 years old.” The collection has been housed for many years in a 600 square foot facility displayed on shelves as well as in large metal cabinets. Appropriately enough, a modest sign can be found just outside the door that succinctly says “Bird Room.” As the university prepared for a major renovation to Eno Hall, where the bird room has been located, they needed to find an experienced partner to carefully move this precious collection into a temporary location during the construction process.
The Challenge

Meyer had to move the delicate collection, which contained items dating back to 1800s. The items were quite fragile, so many needed to be wrapped and hand carried to their new temporary home. The original bird room also contained large, galvanized metal shelving and cabinets, which would not fit in the elevator, so those items also needed to be hand carried up the stairs.

The move also needed to happen just before the graduation ceremony on campus to allow the renovation work to begin on schedule, so timing the activities to be complete before visitors descended on the campus was critical.

The Solution

To personally supervise the relocation of such precious cargo, Meyer assigned two senior project managers to this project – Jill Hill and Brian Cyr – who’ve collectively worked for Meyer for over 20 years. Jill and Brian spent the week of the move in Princeton supervising members of Meyer’s staff from our Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware offices.

To protect the collection during the move, Meyer acquired customized egg containers and individually wrapped and bagged all the specimens in bubble wrap. In some cases, the team transported the most fragile of the birds one specimen at a time by hand for the ¼ mile migration to their new, temporary home.

To meet the schedule and avoid disruption during the renovation process or graduation week festivities, Meyer’s project managers developed a very specific plan and coordinated all resources closely.

Meyer’s Impact
Meyer’s team helped ensure the move went smoothly and all the cargo was installed in the new location seamlessly. With thorough planning, the project was completed under budget and one day early, allowing the renovations to the facility to start exactly on schedule. As Brian Cyr said, “due to the unique nature of the items being moved, this was one of my two favorite jobs in over 30 years with Meyer” – the other being the Boston Dynamics project to move and update a new facility for the world leader in mobile robots.
Meyer’s Impact
Meyer’s team helped ensure the move went smoothly and all the cargo was installed in the new location seamlessly. With thorough planning, the project was completed under budget and one day early, allowing the renovations to the facility to start exactly on schedule. As Brian Cyr said, “due to the unique nature of the items being moved, this was one of my two favorite jobs in over 30 years with Meyer” – the other being the Boston Dynamics project to move and update a new facility for the world leader in mobile robots.