Building a Mine in a Museum with Pallet Rack

When exhibit designer Rick Slingerland needed to build a realistic mine shaft for an exhibit on Nanaimo’s District Museum in B.C., he knew exactly who to call. Having worked with Gerry Chose and the Hi-Cube team on two previous occasions, Rick knew they’d bring innovative ideas to the pallet rack design.

The project wasn’t your typical utilitarian design-and-build process using pallet rack. The main goal wasn’t even to provide a “storage” solution (though the Hi-Cube team did create extra storage where there was none before!). Rick needed help building a realistic coal mine shaft for their unique exhibit.

Hi-Cube, delivers a creative Pallet Rack solution

Rick worked with Hi-Cube CAD designer Zoltan Erdesz over a couple of months and after 6 redesigns we created an innovative pallet rack solution to meet the museum’s needs. After every detail was carefully considered, not limited to the very specific placement of structural support members, the Hi-Cube design team combined two products to create the mine shaft structure.  There was a great deal of time spent to engineer the pallet rack system so it would pass the local codes in Nanaimo, BC:

•    The Pallet Rack Frame system for the mezzanine formed a very strong, modular framework. Mesh and rebar were welded to the framework by a separate contractor and then plastered to create the “cave-like” look.
•     The Steel Mezzanine Floor system by Hi-Cube, above the “mine,” created a lot of storage space where none existed before.

Innovative Installation

Once the design was finalized, the assembly was relatively easy for the experienced installers. The Hi-Cube engineering department supported the museum staff throughout the whole process. The coal mine shaft is as close to an actual mine as most people will ever get; visitors from all over the province and country comments on it every day. The Nanaimo Museum was very pleased with the results.


“Working with Gerry and the staff at Hi-Cube was easy and enjoyable for all involved. This project was very different from the standard utilitarian storage and shelving contracts. It’s a great structural framing system that’s very adaptable.

“Hi-Cube would certainly be my choice should a similar project arise in the future. They have very capable staff and proved they were able to think “outside the cube”, Richard Slingerland, Exhibit Designer at the Nanaimo Museum in B.C.