Guideline 12.1

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Back to STANDARD 12: Exhibit Furnishing Design

The following Standards and Guidelines are a work in progress intended to spur discussion between exhibit personnel, conservators and other museum professionals. Please check back in the future as information is added to expand on the Guidelines without currently active links.
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Guideline12.1: Furniture and assemblies intended for the display of exhibit objects are designed to be object-safe[edit | edit source]

What design features will promote object safety?[edit | edit source]

To promote object safety, and minimize damage from hazards such as pests, dusts or bumping, include the following features in the design of all display furnishings:

  • Stability: When in position, furniture must not allow movement and should adjust to uneven floors. Shelving, pedestals and case furniture in general should be sufficiently anchored to the floor or wall surfaces to withstand the stress and weight of the objects being supported.


  • Bulk: Furnishing must have sufficient bulk and inherent strength to remain anchored if accidentally knocked and should be firmly secured to the floor or wall.


  • Pest deterrence: Furnishing should be designed without undercuts and gaps that collect dust and make cleaning difficult. Build a solid kick-plate along the bottom edge so that dust cannot accumulate below furnishings.


What materials are object-safe for use in constructing display furniture?[edit | edit source]

Furnishings that are intended to display objects must be constructed of materials that are robust enough to support objects without risk of collapse. Because they will be in close proximity to exhibit objects they should also be constructed from materials that are chemically stable (will not off-gas, etc.). [See Standard * for information on materials that are safe for use in construction of display furniture.]