6.6. Furniture

Exhibition furniture is called installation. In a traditional display, objects may be placed directly on the wall, in which case no installation is necessary, or placed on or in front of folding screens. In most exhibitions a variety of open, semi-open or completely glass-walled showcases are used. Showcases may be mass produced or custom-made to suit the style and needs of an exhibition.

There are cases that are designed in line with the fashionable styles of a period, while others have an “antique” or else a rustic effect to blend in or contradict with the style of the museum building. Today installations are a major part of the attraction: a huge slab edifice or a computer-operated steel structure are equally valid ways of presentation, if they suit the objects to be shown.


A traditional, wooden installation case with glassed doors.

6.23. picture: 20th century pine wood copy of a 19th century teak wood showcase. In the safely locked drawers, museum objects may be stored. Mátra Museum, Gyöngyös, Hungary. (Photo: Tamás Vásárhelyi)

Doll houses and furniture on the glass shelves of an installation made of steel.

6.24. picture: Minimalist furniture in the Showcase Storage of the Szentendre Open Air Museum, Hungary. (Photo: Tamás Vásárhelyi)

Installations at an exhibition of folk art.

6.25. picture: In the Classicist building of the one-time High Court in Budapest, installations showing peasant utensils and folk art products have to be separated visually from the architectural space. They are placed on stands, in front of large, white panels with metal frames. In the showcase on the right, a large photograph shows the place of origin of the objects. (Photo: Tamás Vásárhelyi)

A glass showcase that is apparently too small for the animals that are tucked in it.

6.26. picture: The metal divisions of the showcase produce a disturbing effect. There are a lot of objects not connected to those exhibited (two large seals) but are too close to them for visitors to ignore: a coat rack, a fire extinguisher, and a bench – on which you can only sit with your back towards the exhibits. The whole arrangement suggests that the animals are not all that important.  (Photo: Tamás Vásárhelyi)