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  • 1.  sword displays

    Posted 03-14-2024 02:07 PM

    Hello!!! We in the process of creating an exhibit that will feature a few of our swords, and I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for best affordable + quality sword displays?

    We are a small museum and this is our first display to be featuring swords so honestly any tips for best practices regarding sword display would be lovely!!! :) 

    thank you!!!



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    Hanna McKellar
    Curator
    Bar Harbor Historical Society
    Bar Harbor ME
    (they/she)
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    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 2.  RE: sword displays

    Posted 03-15-2024 02:23 PM

    Hi, Hanna -

    Perhaps this goes without saying, but swords (or any weapons) should be displayed in an enclosure/vitrine of some kind for public safety.  I'm assuming that you have a suitable display case and are seeking advice regarding mounting hardware/fixtures.  Is this correct? 

             Cheers,

    Michael




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    Molly Ward
    Michael Holland Productions
    Bozeman MT
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    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 3.  RE: sword displays

    Posted 03-15-2024 02:27 PM

    yes of course!!! public safety is our priority and we already have a secure enclosure for them - I am seeking advice on mounting hardware/fixtures :)



    ------------------------------
    Hanna McKellar
    Curator
    Bar Harbor Historical Society
    Bar Harbor ME
    ------------------------------

    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 4.  RE: sword displays

    Posted 03-15-2024 03:28 PM

    Okay, thanks for clarifying.  I'll proceed with my $0.02 worth.

    Like with all objects, mounting choices for swords are influenced by the material conditions of the object and by what portion of the object is intended to be most visible for the viewer.  For example, it might be important that the mounting hardware not obscure engravings/etching on the blade, or features on the guard or pommel.  Other considerations might be whether or not the sword will be displayed sheathed or unsheathed.  Displays which include both the unsheathed sword and the scabbard require twice as much room in the case.  Orientation of the sword also will influence mounting choices.  A horizontal position allows the weight of the sword to be distributed among multiple support points along the blade, whereas a verticle orientation might require support beneath the guard.  A diagonal orientation might require support on both the blade and hilt. 

    Ideally, mounts should be lined/padded with archival felt or similar material so as not to cause abrasion to surfaces, either during mounting or from vibrations from external sources such as HVAC systems, trains, traffic, etc.  This unwanted abrasion can remove the patina from leather or metal, and in very highly-polished steel (such as Japanese swords) can even necessitate costly refinishing.  Any adhesives used in the mount should be solvent-based rather than water-based to ensure complete dryness of the padding (water encourages rust). 

    With all of this in mind, mounts can sometimes be fairly simple hook or peg structures for mounting on vertical surfaces or Y-style stands for horzontal surfaces.  They can be fabricated with metal or acrylic and painted if desired (just make sure the padding/lining prevents any contact with painted surfaces).  Most ideal would be "capture" mounts that both support the object and have provisions beyond just gravity to keep the object in place in the event of impacts to the display case, seismic activity, etc.  The capture method might be as simple as a piece of monofilament line discretely tying the object to the mount, or a separate fitting that attaches mechanically (often with a set screw) to the main body of the mount.  (I often prefer this second method for fragile fossils.) 

    Available resources and budget are always a factor, especially in smaller museums, so I've offered mainly DIY advice here.  Even if in-house fabrication capabilities are pretty limited, there might be some suitable off-the-shelf hardware store components that can be modified to do the job.  The main thing is to ensure that the person mounting the objects has a solid understanding of how they should be handled. 

    Another option (budget permitting) is to contract with an exhibit fabricator who can offer custom mount fabrication.  This can sometimes require on-site visits to the collection or sending the object to the fabricator, but not always.  (I've used 3D surface scans of specimens to make 3D printed "dummy" specimens for steel fabrication and to make mounts that are 3D printed themselves.)  If you would like to share some photos of the swords with me via email, I can offer more specific recommendations. 

    Hope this helps! 

           Cheers,

    Michael

    P.S. -

    For some reason, I'm not able to change the name on my profile via the AAM website portal, but I'm not Molly, I'm Michael.  Apologies for any confusion!



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    Michael Holland
    Proprietor
    Michael Holland Productions
    Natural History Exhibit Features
    Redmond, WA
    ------------------------------

    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 5.  RE: sword displays

    Posted 23 days ago

    Depending on what you need these are some inexpensive solutions:

    https://www.artdisplay.com/sword-stands.htm

    Beyond this you can always reach out to discuss custom mounts 



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    William Stender
    Owner
    10-31, Inc.
    Columbia NJ
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    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more