Museum Exhibition Display Cases

Part 4

Acrylic or Glass Museum Display Cases

So it is time to answer the question you have wanted to know since (part 3) Invisible Museum Display Cases or maybe you have been trawling the internet in the mean time for the definitive answer to “what are the best materials to make museum display showcases from”.

Well the answer is both; it just depends on your own individual set of circumstances that will determine what’s right for your museum, exhibition or display project.

For example if you have a traveling exhibition, then you will have a completely different shopping list of requirements to a permanent museum or gallery installation.

Possibly we should make a basic pro and cons table for each that way you can see my point, however this actually can still make it a little ambiguous. For example weight might be an advantage for one project but a disadvantage to another?

Glass Advantages

  • Accessibility
  • Conservation options
  • Durability (doesn’t scratch or mar easily)
  • Flexibility
  • Lighting options
  • Longevity
  • Non- Reflective (at additional cost)
  • Security
  • Structural strength
  • Unlimited design possibilities
  • Unlimited options
  • Weight

Glass Disadvantages

  • Breakages (especially in transit)
  • Clarity
  • Colour
  • Installation time
  • Long lead times
  • Manufacturing time
  • Production + Installation costs
  • Storage (when not in service)
  • Transport costs
  • Weight (specialist equipment required)

Obviously I can’t list them all but it gives you some of the most useful comparisons and now for acrylic.

Acrylic Advantages

  • Approx. 50% lighter than glass
  • Clarity
  • Flexibility
  • Impact strength
  • Installation time
  • Less Breakages than glass
  • Low cost
  • No specialist equipment required
  • Non- Reflective (at additional cost)
  • Reduced Transport costs
  • Safer handling than glass
  • Short Lead times
  • Short Manufacturing time
  • Storage (when not in service demountable)
  • Unlimited design possibilities
  • Unlimited options / shapes

Acrylic Disadvantages

  • Higher maintenance
  • Joint deterioration
  • Lighting options
  • Options for interiors
  • Physical sheet size
  • Reduced security options
  • Scratching + Marring
  • Shorter life expectancy
  • Static build-up problems

Of course these vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and also various companies might have one of their display cases which won’t have these issues. Nevertheless in the main they are a good standard to compare the two materials by.

Now you will see that acrylic provides more advantages than glass if you look at the list but some times the small disadvantages of acrylic really make them a none-starter for some projects. For me I have always seen glass as the permanent museum solution if you have a large enough budget and the acrylic variants as the perfect temporary or traveling exhibition. You might think differently but again it just comes down to your own projects requirements and can the budget support your wish list?

For the time being, this is the last part of the Museum Exhibition Showcases series. If you would like to find out more about exhibition or museum display cases in further detail you can contact our team with your queries or visit the Museum Display Cases page with a full list of showcase and museum display cases design services. There is so much still to explore … if you haven`t done so already why not read my previous 3 blogs on Museum Display Cases containing further information, all details are listed below.

Explore More

Achieving the invisible museum exhibition display case or exhibit display vitrines has long been the aspiration or goal of museum designers, architects, curators and showcase manufactures. This is because they all have a shared vision. Their goal is to display and communicate every day items along with extraordinary exhibits in their purest form without restriction or barrier. {read more}

So you have a new exhibition, museum or visitor center that requires new glass display showcases or acrylic vitrines. Now if you were paying attention you might have noticed that I can’t make up my mind whether to write museum display showcases or exhibition vitrines or both? {read more}

The process of achieving a successful museum or exhibition showcase design, build and installation is not created in isolation or a vacuum. First of all it requires a team of dedicated professionals all working together to create something which is far more than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless it is how other details are designed, engineered and executed which determines whether the display showcase is truly invisible to the individual. {read more}