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Thread: Large Plexiglass Vitrine issue

  1. #1
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    Large Plexiglass Vitrine issue

    The PACCIN listserve recently had a discussion thread about lifting large plexiglass bonnets, with a good number of contributors listing various ways they have designed cases or used tools to minimize potential damage to the art. I am (finally) able to post pictures of a recent case/vitrine that was designed to avoid many of the inherent risks involved with such a beast.

    Here is my original post:
    We recently had an African Mask exhibit which included a large feather costume and headdress. To accommodate the large height of the pieces and to help avoid the lift & tilt operation to avoid hitting the ceiling, our case was designed with a 4-sided vitrine with a 5th side that was later attached. In other words, the vitrine had a front, two sides and a top. Each edge along the back was cut with a miter. The fifth side was a sheet with mitered edge that we (carefully) placed in position and used clear “Vernon” sealing tape to hold it in place and seal along all edges. Of course, it is impossible for the tape to be applied in a way that it completely disappears, but it does not visually interfere nor place the object at risk.

    It may not be the perfect solution, but it does work well.

    african case.jpg vitrine edge seperated.jpg vitrine edge closed.JPG
    Unfortunately I was unable to find a photograph of this during the original installation, so I have taken photos of the casework in storage. The first pic is of the entire case/vitrine. As you can see, it is an 8 foot tall vitrine. The “back” of the vitrine is what is facing out from the wall in storage, and the pedestal does have a removable “back” panel, to enable the fitting of the back pane of plexi. You see the back pane and vitrine held together with painter’s tape. The second two photos show close-ups of the joining edge. The first of these shows the two edges, the second shows you what it looks like when "joined" together. I was wrong before in stating that it was mitered edge…. It is a rabbet edge.
    One important design note: the back “plane” fits inside the rabbet of the edge of the 4-sided vitrine. This prevents the top from sagging, as the back pane supports the top edge. I hope these photographs help… it is difficult to take decent shots of clear plexi!

    With Kind Regards-
    Mary Nicolett,
    Dallas Museum of Art



  2. #2
    Mary, how thick must the acrylic be to use this method. I really like the simplicity of your solution. -- Bruce MacLeish

  3. #3
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    Bruce-

    The thickness of this vitrine is 1/4". We have a very good plexiglass fabricator in town that did this for us (we did not manufacture it ourselves).

  4. #4
    david089
    Guest
    The first pic is of the entire case/vitrine. As you can see, it is an 8 foot tall vitrine. The “back” of the vitrine

    is what is facing out from the wall in storage, and the pedestal does have a removable “back” panel, to enable the fitting of the back pane of plexi.

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