One big issue all museums face is the impending doom of running out of display space! We face the same fate at the Cody Firearms Museum. While we currently have more than 50 percent of the collections on display, our staff is constantly trying to figure out better ways to display more guns.
One solution has been to purchase art storage racks from StabaArte Inc. in Germany and convert them to compact display space. With the help of our phenomenal staff at the Center, we converted these storage units by placing Plexiglass sheets on either side of the racks and at the top of the drawers. In approximately 30 linear feet, we can traditionally display 105 firearms, but with these StabaArte cases, we can now display about 530 guns in the same space!
This project began as an experiment and has proven popular; not only have we increased quantity, we have also created a case where visitors can see both sides of each gun. Due to its success, we are installing an additional StabaArte case, allowing us to take another 300 guns from the vault and show them to the public.
We will have about 150 long guns in vertical racks, ranging from European and Asian rifles to Winchester shotguns to Johnson light machine guns. In the drawers, we have 150 pistols including two Remington Cane guns! We have pistols ranging from early matchlocks through modern semi-automatic handguns. We are in the process of this installation and hope to have the display available to the public by February 2014!
You can find them in our Study Gallery behind the Smithsonian loan exhibition!