Exhibit Case Styles

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Free-Standing Case Examples

Within the tremendous range of case styles, two primary categories exist: free-standing and wall cases. The examples shown here represent the basic range in free-standing cases and typify how these designs affect the viewing of exhibit objects, case access exhibit lighting and environmental control.

Of utmost importance is the enclosure's ability to provide a protective micro-environment, control the ingress of pests and airborne pollutants, and reduce environmental instability. With regard to these factors each free-standing case design performs differently. The design variables that impact preservation performance are: the degree to which the case can be sealed; whether an environmental maintenance chamber and lighting chamber can be included; the type of glazing and the number of glazed panels or walls used; whether epoxyIwelded joint vitrines or frames for structural glazing are used.

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  • Vitrine tops with epoxy\welded seams are light weight and are easily sealed; however, they provide limited physical security. Tall vitrines can endanger objects when lifted-off to access display material.
  • Wood or metal structural frames can be engineered to impart strength and physical security; however, they dramatically increase the potential of air infiltra- tion; gasketing and caulk sealants will be needed.
  • The design and location of access doors arecritical because of size and weight limitations, and sealing difficulties.
  • Multiple, inline glazed panels increase not only case volume but the amount of linear seals required; joining hardware and caulk sealants will be needed. Moveable panels present special engineering challenges and may require special hardware.
  • Introduction of solid, stationary walls facilitates access door design, physical stability and case rigidity; vapor permeability of walls for micro- environments and dimensional stability of wall-to-glazing joints must be considered.
  • In integral lighting systems fixtures and lamps attach directly to the case. Lighting attics must be sealed, separate chambers with adequate ventilation to ensure no heating of exhibit objects. The principal lighting challenges are to control radiation levels and heating at such close proximity to objects.



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Wall Case Examples

The examples shown here represent the basic range in wall cases; they share the feature that they attach and protrude from a vertical wall or are embedded within a wall cavity. These examples typify how designs affect the viewing of exhibit objects, case access, exhibit lighting and environmental control.

Of utmost importance is the enclosure's ability to provide a protective micro-environment, control the ingress of airborne pollutants and pests, and reduce environmental instability. With regards to these factors each wall case design performs differently. The variables that impact preservation performance are: the degree to which the case can be sealed; whether an environmental maintenance chamber and lighting chamber are included; the type of glazing used and the number of glazed panels and solid walls; and whether epoxy-welded vitrines or frames for structural glazing are employed.

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  • Wood or metal structural frames can be engineered to impart strength and physical security however, they dramatically increase the potential of case leakage; gasketing and caulk sealants will be needed.
  • Multiple, inline glazing panels increase not only case volume but the amount of linear seals required, extruded joining hardware and caulk sealants must be employed. Moveable panels present special engineering challenges and require special hardware.
  • Interior walls can facilitate access door design. As these surfaces (including ceilings and floors) can be pre-existing, vapor permeability and temperature transfer can be problematic. Dimensional stability of wall-to-glazing joints must be considered.
  • In integral lighting systems fixtures and lamps attach directly to the case. Lighting attics must be sealed; separate chambers with adequate ventilation to ensure no heating of exhibit objects. The principal lighting challenges are to control radiation levels and heating at such close proximity to the objects.



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Exhibit cases are enclosures comprised of an exterior structure with one or more viewing windows and interior compartments. All cases have an object display chamber; not all cases have an environmental maintenance chamber and a lighting chamber or attic. Lighting attics are only required when exhibit lighting originates at the case.

The environmental chamber is used for humidity and chemical pollutant controlling equipment. These materials can also be located within the display chamber in exhibit furniture or behind objects. Preservation concerns generally focus on the design and materials used in the construction of the interior compartments.

The primary conservation concerns are: the use of non-hazardous construction materials; air circulation between the maintenance and display chambers and maintaining their level of seal from the room; adequate venting of the lighting attic and its sealed isolation from the other chambers.

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