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Putting on a display locally.


ww2vault
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Hi,

 

I know Schottzie can answer my question without hesitation after seeing that display he put on at a school. I would like to know how to put on a display whether it be at a school of local VFW post. I am interested in showing the public my collection for a collection isn't that great if your the only one who sees it. ;)

 

This might help encourage some others to put on a display as well for even though I have never held one before I could imagine how much enjoyment you must get out of one. Thanks.

 

- Jeff

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I do displays at my grandpa's apartment building, it's a place where you have to be over 65 to live there, so everyone had been around during that time period. I suggest trying something like that, it will be appreciated, and little kids won't try on your stuff...

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Jeff,

 

Our local Kansas City Military Collectors Club puts on several displays each year. We have partnered with the National WWI Museum in KC to set up 40 displays once a year and the public is admitted free. It is a fundraiser for the museum and they are tickled with the crowds our diverse displays bring in to pay to go through the regular museum exhibits as well.

 

Our club also does free displays with a metro VFW on the same basis and the VFW picks up a few bucks from the food vending. So, I would say contact a local VFW or American Legion and see if they would be interested in having you display your stuff. You can also get display tables at militaria shows (for free or reduced money from sale tables) and share your goodies with other collectors in that manner. Of course displaying in VA hospitals or retirement communities will also assure you of an appreciative audience.

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I have exhibited many pieces from my collection at my local library. They have cases which feature items from area residents, and the subject matter varies considerably. Since the library likes to routinely rotate the diaplays, they are always seeking new items to show. In addition to these regular displays, the library will periodically invite persons to help with exhibits relating to certain events. This could be national holidays, historic anniversaries, etc. Not too many years ago our city hosted one of the traveling WWII homefront poster exhibits sponsored by the Smithsonian.

 

When you do an exhibit, be sure to include descriptions with the items. Do not bore the public with great detail, but give them enough information that they walk away saying "I did not know that!" Experience has shown that people do not like to stand in one place for long reading lengthy captions, signs, etc. When possible, I like to mix contemporary photos with the items on display so persons can see how they were used, worn, or whatever. If schedule allows, I like to be present when my items are on display. I can answer questions and meet some great people.

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Good luck with your display! Hope nothing gets stolen like some of the stuff I lent out for a 'Nam display. After that I will not do it again. Rich A.

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Check with the nursing and retirement homes, the one where my wife works has a family night once a quarter during the year. The one in Sept. will be photos and items that people can bring that shows life from 1900-1960. I am going to do a WWII display, it will be fun and you don't have to leave anything over night.

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CNY Militaria

Find 8th grade teachers, talk to them, tell them you would like to do a display and TEACH about military history, and they will almost always say yesbecause its cool and they get the day off basically. Thats it in a nutshell (although its a bit more complicatedfor real)>

Justin

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Wow, thanks for all of the great tips everyone! To start off with displaying my collection to the public I think I will contact my local VFW post and see if they are interested. Then I will try some of the other places mentioned above.

 

I like your ideas Siege, I know from experience that people hate to stay in one spot for to long reading. When I went to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville and was looking at all of the exhibits I would stop and read each story board while others would glance at it and move on.

 

Heh, after reading your post on setting up for that day you showed your collection off to that class Justin I really believe half of the job is setting up the displays!

 

- Jeff

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CNY Militaria

Setup was easier and more fun than it looked. It took about 25 minutes to have it all unpacked ans setup, same with takedown. Of course, I break a sweat doing so :)

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I too have been known to display, now and again. I think there are several considerations involved. Who is the audience? Is is for the public in general? For vets? For students? For fellow collectors? Is it competitive? I have done it for all they are different.

 

How much space will you have? How long will the display be in place? Are there security issues? Will there he help setting up, carrying in? Is this to be a static display? Is it "show and tell"? All of these go into it!

 

There definaitely needs to be a plan in advance. You might consider displaying on several levels -- raised portions make things more visible. Labels are a must, not to mention an overall title, but this will depend on the audience/purpose.

 

There are advantages to the effort, not to mention wear and tear on theitems displayed. Now and again you'll have someone offer you something to add to your collection, and that can be a very good thing!

 

G

 

Great Lakes Military Collectors Show display in Toledo a couple of years back. Came in 2nd!

Jan19178.jpg

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Thanks a lot Gil, you made many good points. I had planned on adding labels to everything, for I try to sit back and put myself into the audiences shoes and see if I can guess hoe they will react to my display.

 

One thing that is mainly bothering me is keeping my items safe from sticky fingers, (AKA. Some one who wants a item for theirself.) or from people who might mis-handle the items.

 

I know for a fact that I should ask the person/organiztion if they wouldn't be offened by me displaying Nazi items.

 

- Jeff

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It might be well to keep small and valuable items behind glass for security. One could ask that stanchions and roping be provided to keep people back too.

 

G

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once a year the local mall has a living history display

 

some people display items from the pioneer days and dress up in period costumes

 

Ive also seen a large military display from one of the military museums on display in the mall, they had uniforms and various other items on display, photos, etc

 

maybe you could make a memorial day military display at the MALL ? and set up a booth

 

but you would need to watch it closely to prevent people from touching or stealing / theft of your collection

 

so you would need to have a few guys to help you watch your stuff

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Thanks everyone for the great ideas and tips. I will contact my local VFW Post and see if they would be interested in me putting on a display. I think it would be a blast to host one, sure sounds like people who do enjoy it a lot.

 

P.S. Tomorrow is Patriots Day, don't forget to put your flag out and remember/salute the people lost six years ago and the men and women that defend our freedom so valiantly. thumbsup.gif

 

- Jeff

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Hey Jeff,

 

I know I am a little late getting on this subject, but I hope some of this may help. I did my first display/presentation last year for my sister-in-laws freshman class. (Little did I know, word spread, and soon every faculty member, police officer and other class was showing up.) I was nervous, but it was a blast! thumbsup.gif The kids loved it. They asked so many questions thought I was so smart. (Boy were they fooled). I was even lucky enough to be allowed to bring my firearms to the school. Of course, they were inspected by the officer on duty and we zip tied the bolts and triggers down and no one touched them.

 

Interesting enough, the students were not really interested in the Nazi items. They said they had that stuff pushed on them in class too much. They all gravitated to the American/Allied items. They really paid attention to items that contained pictures or personal things. They liked putting faces to uniforms. They could not believe that many of the men were their age or size and went to fight a war. Even when speaking to the teachers, I learned many of their fathers and grandfathers served and what items they brought back. (These presentations are a way to network also).

 

I had my tables set up in sections. I started out with items from the homefront, then had tables set up moving through the different branches. Then on to one set up with a Canadian display and finally the German tables. Each table had small description cards next to the items. For the larger tunics and such, there was a small description of the unit or unit history. I put the descriptions on some antiqued looking paper to add to the "historical" look.

 

Bottom line, it was fun and I can't wait to do it again. It has also given me the excuse to add to my collection!!! "But honey, it's for the children."

 

Good luck with your displays. :)

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Here is something interesting...many school districts have as part of their budget programs that PAY for guest speakers to come in. Yes...you can get PAID to talk about militaria! Just ask about it if thats what it takes to get you to come in and talk.

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Here is a display I threw together in an afternoon at a local gun show a few years ago.

I didnt cost me anything but my weekend, and I won 2nd place, although I wasnt even aware there was a contest.

post-136-1189880358.jpg

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The Military Historical Society that I belong to has done displays for our local

VFW(Veterans Day is a good time); our local historical society; local library(only if they

have locking display cases); Nursing homes(a lot of vets there and they love this stuff);

local museums(they are always looking for weekend and long term displays) Go to those

who may be interested and sell yourself to them. You may be surprized!

 

At the nursing homes, we'll bring a couple sizes and styles of Garrison caps along and

then take pictures of the Veterans wearing them and then get copies back to them. They

love it and better yet it plays good in the newspaper which is a real kicker for your

society, the collecting community or even just for showing off a personal collection. B)

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One thing that I have found that is a must in my displays are signs or labels. I follow the standard format of title and description. The title explains the item and is strictly for those who do not want to know anything more than what they are looking at...i.e. "Unite States Issue M-1 Helmet." Underneath the title I will place a detailed description. This is for those who are interested in reading more. The description can range is size from 2 or 3 lines to 2 or 3 paragraphs. I format the title larger than the description, usually at number 15 or 20 and in bold face. The description I leave at the standard 12. Normally I print the signs on a colored paper (khaki etc.) to help complement my exhibit. I also have them laminated for duribility and to keep them preserved for future use.

 

I find that the signs help when I cannot talk to everyone going by, and it gives my exhibit a professional look. I also feel that the signs/labels help "draw people in" who may have otherwise just walked on by.

 

Just my two cents...

 

One more thing...I make all my signs using good ol' microsoft word.

 

Steve

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I just had a talk with the local VFW Post Commander and he sounded interested in having a display put on. He is going out of town this week and when he gets back we will meet and talk more about it and try to set a date to have it, for they only meet once a month and other then that the post isn't used very much.

 

I would like to thank everyone for all of the photos and great advice. If anyone else has pictures of displays that you have done then please feel free to post them, also if you have any more tips on hosting a display they would be greatly appreciated. :)

 

- Jeff

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Yes, I saw that display you did. I must say you did a tremendously excellent job on it and to pack everything up in a half hour, phew. Of-course I wouldn't be setting a display up even close to that size, nor it's grandeur, I still look forward to doing one for the VFW.

 

- Jeff

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I have been doing a display at a local school for the past 14 years on Veterans Day. This has led to many other opportunities. I have done displays and workshops for teachers, our State Archives, Air Shows, Military Vehicle Shows, Museums, churches, libraries, history symposiums, state Humanities Council, living history programs, gun shows, veterans organizations, etc. I have done three different displays for one of our state's US Senator. I started in 1994 and now I have groups from all over the state contacting me about doing displays. I just did one today for our local Textile Heritage Society. They recognized veterans who had worked in the local mills. Last weekend I did one for a new museum that opened in our city. If people learn that you are willing to set up quality displays they will call. It seems that I always make new contacts at each event. I also network with other collectors, reenactors, museum curators, and military vehicle owners in my state.

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Does anyone charge for their displays? I am coordinating with an event director and he asked me how much I charge. I told him that I don't and he seemed, well, kind of unsure. You know, "What kind of amaturish displays am I getting?" So I am going to send him photos of my recent displays and hope that puts his mind at ease.

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