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Displaying Your Medals – Top Tips by Philip Attwood

Displaying Your Medals – Top Tips by Philip Attwood


[Music] My name is Philip Attwood. I’m keeper of coins and medals at the British Museum, and what we’re going to do in the next few minutes is share some ideas with you about how best to display them, and make them available to the public. In giving this advice, we’re thinking particularly of displays in museums. It will be useful for curators, but also anyone who’s putting any sort of display together, perhaps a collector whose wants to display their own collection in their home, then hopefully there will be some tips here as well that they can use. [Music] Probably one of the most important things to consider when you are going to put some medals on display is the lighting. By their nature medals are very small objects and can be quite difficult to see, and that’s why lighting is so important, otherwise a small black disc is not going to be very interesting for the visitor. So the key thing is to have extremely good lighting and to try and get a raking light which will bring out the relief of the medal so that the design is clearly seen. It’s also important to have the medal as close to the visitor as you can. Now obviously for security reasons your medal is most likely to be in a case behind glass, but the closer you can get that medal up to the glass so the visitor can see the detail, the better it will be for that visitor. [Music] Another thing that you can do of course is to show images – blow up photographs of your medal – that will enable you to show the other side of your medal, but it will also enable the visitor to read the medal more clearly, and once they’ve been able to see what’s on the medal, they will then look at the actual object itself and be able to appreciate it for its own sake. Because medals are such small objects, there’s often a tendency to put as many into the case as possible. And although there may be times when that is exactly what you need to do, there will be other times when it may be appropriate to have a smaller number of medals, or maybe even just one medal. The visitor will concentrate on that medal. They’re more likely perhaps to look at one or two medals than they are a great bank of medals, and they will therefore get more out of your display. They will understand more by focusing on that one object. [Music]


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