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Installing “Bullets & Blades”

The installation of a new exhibit is a large task.  A previous blog has highlighted the work the museum has done to clean and prepare the weapons for exhibit.  That is only one small part of the exhibition construction process.

Many weeks were spent constructing mounts for the objects.  Because each object is different, it was impossible to take a one mount fits all approach; each object required the construction of a custom mount for that particular piece.

Acrylic bases were custom made to hold each musket

In the case of muskets, wide strips of acrylic were heated and formed to fit the contours of the butt plate providing a sturdy base for mounting guns in an upright position.  To hold the gun in place thin brass rod was formed to wrap around the rammers and fixed to the back of the case.  Swords and pistols generally rely upon hooks to hold them in place and at specific angles.  In all cases, care was taken to ensure that any materials coming into direct contact with an object would not react negatively with the object’s surface.

Once the mounts were constructed, the objects were transported to the museum and installed into the exhibit cases.  Sometimes the installation of objects went as planned, sometimes it was necessary to make adjustments to the mounts to improve the final fit and appearance of the objects.  Because of the nature of some objects and cases in which the pieces were intended to be exhibited, it was necessary to construct the mounts on-site.

Small objects as part of American cartridge pouch exhibit
Several small objects exhibited with an American cartridge pouch required on-site construction.

This exhibit includes over 150 objects and took about three weeks to install and a lot of imagination to construct mounts that were both strong and discreet.  The effect, however, is that most objects appear to be suspended in air with minimal intrusive supports and it is possible to view most of the object in the exhibit from multiple perspectives.

Blog post by Christopher D. Fox,
Curator Fort Ticonderoga.
Musket display
Displayed in this manner, it is possible to view almost all part of each musket.