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I'm working on a mobile display (2-3 tables), US Special Forces 1952-today


I need some ideas on Mannequins full, 3/4, Torso (cheapest/best) , the best way to display stuff, transport items ....etc



Also a little about Theft prevention


Any input would be good



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I will see if I can help alittle. I have done mobile displays for 10 years plus now. Space is the rule. How musch space do you have? 2-3 tables is not much. I use PVC pipes as my display manniq. This allows me to get more bang for the buck. See link below.



Security is of the upmost importance. I cannot tell you enough to watch your things. Placing them on a table in the public is very risky. VERY RISKY. If you do this than I would place a restricted zone in front of the display. This keeps people from picking up and touching things as they walk by your display. It also keeps them from picking it up and walking OFF. Most of the time my dad comes with me and he watches over the stuff while someome is talking to me. Watch for someone who occupies your time needlessly, he may be working with someone who is at your display Trying to grab something. Iam parinoid. But it is either that or something is gone. Look at some of my display at the link above.

If you need more help let me know.

Remeber. Watch your stuff.


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Kurt Barickman

StarChris is right, I have done several large displays (up to 35 half and full mannequins) Put your mannequins on the back of tables and put your displays in front such as photos, stories, documentation, etc. Then put another table in front of that so people can read your documentation and clearly see the mannequins but they would have to reach your items would be seen making an overt reach. If you are going to display valuable, knives, medals, documents, display cases are a must.


Kurt Barickman

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I USED to do a lot of these. I kind of gave up as I would put on a great big show and treat people with respect, then have someone set up some crappy thing and do nothing but hit on vets for "their stuff" (and get it!)


Anyway, rule #1 is that you have to come to grips with t he fact that you will break or lose things in the moves. NO mater how well you pack, something will go,


Rule #2 anything left out will be touched and picked up. Anything smaller than a helmet really has to be in a large glass case- and if at all valuable the base locked. This is not because people are all going to steal things, but a WW2 vet will not understand why he shouldn't pick up that D-ration and handle it while showing his wife how he used to gnaw off an edge. After all, they used to just throw that stuff away!


Invest in some large cases where the tops flip open and you can put a cheap lock on the hasp. These serve to also be good to pack stuff in when you are done. I liked to put the cases th e long way at the front of the table, with something like a half manikin in the back to make an invisible boundary so people would not reach out and play with the uniform.


Oh, and helmets will always get picked up and put on kids head's so they can feel how heavy they are. Just as any weapon with the trigger in reach will be played with. I used to joke I should put a sign on a .30 cal saying "your photo with the gun $5).


bring material to cover the table with that is long enough to hang down in front- then you can hide stuff under the Showing weapons? make a rack that that displays them side on to the public, and table, like reference books, or empty boxes. It also look a lot better. Most people will go for a pretty display of average stuff, than a non-pretty display of rare items.


I ALWAYS brought a box of reference books like Stanton and SAwicki's books. Someone would always come up saying their grandfather was it he XYZ regiment, and by pulling out a few books I could tell them all kinds of things and amaze them (and make their day).


Showing long arms? make a rack that shows them along the table going up one after the other, and lock them down to the rack with a simple cable lock. NEVER bring any live ammo. But I found a clip of drill 30.06 was fun to have on hand so WW2 vets could try loading it (and not getting M! thumb). It can pay to have a 'play area' of more common rugged stuff so kids can try on a helmet, or vets play with an M1, or whatever.


Bring a camera, as you never know who will show up and you will want to have gotten a picture of them- also take pictures of every display you do so you can show people what and where you have been. Like wise be sure to have cards available to hand out. You never know who will contact you later on. (and a notebook and pen). In this digital age, I would also suggest shooting photos down the whole display when it is set up. Then if at the end you start sweating that your prize knife is missing, you can check back and see you never put it out!


SIGNS! Label everything! People love to read signs. print them out on a computer, then glue them to a sheet of thin card board. Use that sticky putty to keep them in place if need be. YOU know it is a rare jump helmet, but to everyone else it is "a helmet"- put down a common one, and the rare one- with a sign between them indicating the difference.


Most people would rather see a lo of common everyday items their grandpa may have used than a few rare things. Be somewhat artistic and place booklets, or patches, or other colorful items between all the green scabbards and knives in a case. It makes a big difference.


It is a TON of work to do well, but all you need it one cool vet to come by and tell you stories and it is all worth it!


oh, and before hand find out exactly the size of the space you will have and lay it all out at home in preperation.

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I don't know where they got it but I've been to shows where the displays are completey covered in a very fine see through mesh. You can see the items very well but no way you can pick anything up or walk away with it. One particuliar display is German daggers and handguns. All laid out and labeled but theres seeie but no touchie

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