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Mobile Platforms for Large Objects


These rolling platforms are designed to protect oversize objects that will not fit into museum cabinets, and to provide a system for safely handling large objects when they must be moved (Fig. 1). Some typical (and often heavy) objects for which rolling platforms might be needed are: stone and metal objects, large composite ethnographic objects, large skulls, mounted specimens and large fossils.

Figure 1. Rolling platforms for large objects.


Joan Gardner
Section of Conservation
Carnegie Museum
of Natural History Annex
5800 Baum Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206 USA
Tel (412) 665-2607
Fax (412) 665-2751

Illustration: Britt Griswold after
sketches by Michael Tickner 

Publication: 1992


Strong rolling platforms can be constructed from plywood. Additional pieces are nailed and glued to the underside at the places where casters are to be attached. If the object is over 50-75lbs, wooden support pieces may be added as reinforcements under the platform. A superstructure is added to protect fragile objects (Figs. 2, 3).

Figure 2. Mobile platform with plastic cover.


Figure 3. Exploded view of mobile platform construction.

Materials Tools Supplies

For platform

  • Acrylic latex paint
  • Casters (sizes chosen according to weight of object)
  • Drill and bits
  • Lumber, 1in x 4in x 8ft, and 2in x 4in x 8ft lengths
  • Nails or screws
  • Paint brush
  • Plywood sheet 3/8 – 1/2in, grade G1S or AC, phenyl formaldehyde adhesive
  • Polyethylene foam plank
  • Saw
  • Wood glue For superstructure
  • Corner braces or L-brackets
  • Dowels
  • Polyethylene sheeting
  • Nylon hook and loop material, self-adhesive


  1. Measure the base and height of the object.
  2. Determine size of platform according to measurements, leaving an allowance of 2in on all sides.
  3. Cut plywood to measurements and reinforce with lengths of wood, depending on weight of object.
  4. Choose appropriate casters according to weight of object and attach to the underside of platform.
  5. Construct a superstructure if the upper part of the object needs to be protected.
  6. Paint the platform with three coats of acrylic latex paint (applied in different directions), and, if possible, cover the wood with polyethylene plank foam (1/2 – 1in thick).
  7. Cut polyethylene foam pieces to form wedges under objects with uneven bases so that they are properly supported.
  8. A dust cover of polyethylene sheeting, either sealed or closed with paper clips, may be desirable if there is no filtration of particulates in storage (Fig. 4). Self-adhesive nylon hook and loop material can be used to attach the polyethylene sheet cover to the base.

    Figure 4. Mobile platform with polyethylene dust cover.
    Superstructure holds plastic away from object.


All plywood should be thick and G1S or AC grade, both of which mean good one side, or they should be sanded or finished.

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