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Holding my "first" public display, any tips?


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This weekend I've been asked to hold a display with US equipment from WW2, at an event downtown. I have had several displays before, but not on this scale, not with my own items and not this public.

I don't have the whole world to choose from, but I can probably put together a couple of complete uniforms ++

 

Does anybody have any tips on how I can make the best out of my display? Any do's and don'ts?

Looking for militaria related to Norwegians/Norwegian-Americans

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Put "do not touch signs" everywhere... I made this mistake the first time I ever did a display.

 

There is some great advice here, but I definitely second this one! Some people don't respect history the way most of the members here do. I have seen people pick things up all the time. The worst was when I saw a guy take a few items to show his friends!!!

Will Twomey

In Honor of:

USA General John Wickham (1928-)

USAF Colonel Bernie Fisher MOH (1927-2014)

USMC Sergeant Al De Vito (Chosin Reservoir Survivor) (1926-)

USA Cpl. Macedonio Leyba (Bataan Death March survivor) (1917-2007)

 

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Two very important things have already been said: try to get some 'do not touch' signs in there and find someone who can help you to enforce this rule! Especially when your display gets a little bigger, it becomes hard to keep an eye on everything yourself. Secondly, try to get as much items as possible 'away' from the public, it's kinda difficult with uniforms but you could put smaller items in a few nice display cases. This way people can see, but not touch ;)

Also, what seemed to work at the display I did to get people's attention was either good looking stuff (like medals or weapons) or a personal story attached to the items.

"In almost all wars, the sight of foreign troops brought fear and terror to the local people, destruction and often senseless killing of local citizens. However, the sight of the American GI always brought smiles and joy to the local French people. They knew we were there to liberate, not to conquer; to help, not to terrorize."

Captain Leo T. Hury, M-Company, 330th Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division.

In honor of Captain Leo, March 19, 1920 - June 10, 2012

 

Profile picture: Pfc. John T. DiMauro, E Company, 331st Infantry Regiment

January 23, 1926 - KIA January 13, 1945 near Langlire, Belgium after 11 days on the frontline

 

Looking for anything related to the 83rd Infantry Division (1917-today)

Visit my personal website: www.normandytothebulge.be

Learn more about the 83rd Infantry Divison assocation at: www.83rdassociation.com

 

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If you decide to allow some items to be touched, be ready to say no. When a kid with half a ice cream bar on his face and the other on his hands wants to touch everything, sometimes you have to be the adult and tell them to go wash their hands. Also, don't expect the parents to help take care of your gear. I let a kid try on a M1 helmet, when he went to take it off, the helmet and liner separated and the pot went rolling down the aisle, the loud crash scared the kid and he dropped the liner, which rolled across the aisle under another guys table. I had to step out and go get my property because mom simply moved her kid on down the aisle. Most people are appreciative, but you will find the idiots that have no respect for other peoples property. You will learn quickly who they are and watch them like a hawk.


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Install CCTV and put some razor wire around your display! I'll swear the average person reads "PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH!" as "GO AHEAD...PLEASE PICK IT UP!" I used to do occasional displays, but no longer. I quit doing them because of the hassle. I don't want to sound negative or to put you off, but you really do have to be on the ball...trust me!!

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Some very good advice here already on how to handle ill mannered folks. I would add that displays can also create really positive experiences too. When you have a vet with a child with them who says something like "that's just the kind of uniform grandpa wore" with pride and the kid says "wow!" then you have used your collection to foster a love and appreciation for history. That is no small thing. For me, it does no good to collect if I don't share because seeing artifacts from the past enables people to remember the sacrifices our service men and women have made over the years in a way that reading a book just can't do.

So, if you have the right temperament and the right gear on display, you just may have a great time.

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Sometimes it is good to have a couple of items kids can pick up. My reenactor helmet for instance I usually bring along to to my public displays for kids to pick up and handle. It's no worries if it falls on the ground, I've done it a million times!

 

Keep the extremely valuable or rare items at home. This is where repos are handy just to get the point across from time to time.

 

Keep smaller items together in one large case so they aren't consistently being picked up.

 

Stay out of direct sunlight! I had a very nice leather WWII personal checker set warped under the sun after an hour. It will also wear down on yourself as well.

 

Bring a chair or two for a friend, standing by your display after a few hours will wear you down.

 

Good Luck and lets see some pictures when you are through!

 

Leonardo

I collect items from The Battle of Iwo Jima (1945).

Top Iwo Jima Items I'm Looking For:

1) IDed 5th MarDiv Corpsman Jumper or Forest Green Coat.

2) IDed Coast Guard Navy Jumper

3) IDed CB's Sea Bee's Navy Jumper

4) IDed 147th Infantry Regiment Army Service Coat

5) IDed 32nd ID Army Service Coat (Occupation Kyushu with 5th MarDiv).

I am always looking for named and dated WWII USMC Forest Green wool alpha jackets/coats from the 5th Marine Division or other units who participated in the battle.

My Blog "Marines In Forest Green" http://marinesinfore...n.blogspot.com/

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Sometimes it is good to have a couple of items kids can pick up. My reenactor helmet for instance I usually bring along to to my public displays for kids to pick up and handle. It's no worries if it falls on the ground, I've done it a million times!

 

 

That also brings up another good point, never let anyone try on something that you wear yourself. My crewchief allowed a little kid to wear his flight helmet for a picture once.... once. After the silver dollar sized boil finally healed behind his ear, he was finally cleared on an upslip to fly again. Also, scabies, lice, and assundry other ailments that you can get from it, isn't worth the picture mom gets.


Visit my eBay store: http://stores.ebay.com/crustyw4scorner/

 

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In my experience, firearms attract a lot of interest. Everyone wants to handle them, cock them, dry fire them etc. So, if you are taking some weapons, display them securely out of reach...and obviously make sure there are no live rounds!!

 

I once took my M1 rifle to a show ( de-activated so no risk of an accidental discharge) At the end of the show when I was packing my stuff away I discovered that the operating lever had jumped its track and was jammed! How it happened, I have no idea....you couldn't do it if you tried! Fortunately, I have the WW2 FM so when I got home I stripped it down and reassembled it and it was fine again. The moral is....be very vigilant!

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Good point about the helmet, I failed to mention I don't have the liner in it when it's on display.

 

LF

I collect items from The Battle of Iwo Jima (1945).

Top Iwo Jima Items I'm Looking For:

1) IDed 5th MarDiv Corpsman Jumper or Forest Green Coat.

2) IDed Coast Guard Navy Jumper

3) IDed CB's Sea Bee's Navy Jumper

4) IDed 147th Infantry Regiment Army Service Coat

5) IDed 32nd ID Army Service Coat (Occupation Kyushu with 5th MarDiv).

I am always looking for named and dated WWII USMC Forest Green wool alpha jackets/coats from the 5th Marine Division or other units who participated in the battle.

My Blog "Marines In Forest Green" http://marinesinfore...n.blogspot.com/

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Put on that happy face!

 

Good luck!

 

LF

I collect items from The Battle of Iwo Jima (1945).

Top Iwo Jima Items I'm Looking For:

1) IDed 5th MarDiv Corpsman Jumper or Forest Green Coat.

2) IDed Coast Guard Navy Jumper

3) IDed CB's Sea Bee's Navy Jumper

4) IDed 147th Infantry Regiment Army Service Coat

5) IDed 32nd ID Army Service Coat (Occupation Kyushu with 5th MarDiv).

I am always looking for named and dated WWII USMC Forest Green wool alpha jackets/coats from the 5th Marine Division or other units who participated in the battle.

My Blog "Marines In Forest Green" http://marinesinfore...n.blogspot.com/

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I think we lost him!

 

: X

I collect items from The Battle of Iwo Jima (1945).

Top Iwo Jima Items I'm Looking For:

1) IDed 5th MarDiv Corpsman Jumper or Forest Green Coat.

2) IDed Coast Guard Navy Jumper

3) IDed CB's Sea Bee's Navy Jumper

4) IDed 147th Infantry Regiment Army Service Coat

5) IDed 32nd ID Army Service Coat (Occupation Kyushu with 5th MarDiv).

I am always looking for named and dated WWII USMC Forest Green wool alpha jackets/coats from the 5th Marine Division or other units who participated in the battle.

My Blog "Marines In Forest Green" http://marinesinfore...n.blogspot.com/

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Sorry guys, I was gonna wait and reply later tonight instead, when I can actually get some pictures up, silly me forgot the SD card for my camera...

It went really well actually, didn't have a single problem with grabby people, pretty much everyone was respectful and told their kids not to touch(Might have been because I put "Do no touch" signs all over the place, hehe).

 

I'll have more details later

Looking for militaria related to Norwegians/Norwegian-Americans

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GOod to hear!

 

Looking forward to the pix!

 

LF

I collect items from The Battle of Iwo Jima (1945).

Top Iwo Jima Items I'm Looking For:

1) IDed 5th MarDiv Corpsman Jumper or Forest Green Coat.

2) IDed Coast Guard Navy Jumper

3) IDed CB's Sea Bee's Navy Jumper

4) IDed 147th Infantry Regiment Army Service Coat

5) IDed 32nd ID Army Service Coat (Occupation Kyushu with 5th MarDiv).

I am always looking for named and dated WWII USMC Forest Green wool alpha jackets/coats from the 5th Marine Division or other units who participated in the battle.

My Blog "Marines In Forest Green" http://marinesinfore...n.blogspot.com/

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Right, sorry for the delay, I've had a bit to do.

Here are the pictures and details:

The display went just fine, but I didn't have too many visitors, most likely because it was a bit "hidden away". I shared a tent with a veteran group for soldiers from "Brigade Nord", so they were the main attraction. It was not my best display ever, but I did what I could with what I had available at the time.

 

I only had 1 incident where a visitor picked up my Thompson, but he was told to put it down, which he did. Everyone else was very respectful of the display, and told their kids to keep their hands off, which was very surprising to me, but very comforting.

 

All in all, I had a great time, and had many interesting conversations with people, so I will definitely do this again when the opportunity comes

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Looking for militaria related to Norwegians/Norwegian-Americans

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