In the September 2020 issue of Military Trader, we presented photos of mannequin displays constructed by members of the Facebook group, World War I AEF Collectors (See the original article can be found HERE). That article prompted several readers to share their own, special display techniques. We are pleased to share some of them here

Perhaps the most impressive photos we have seen are those of A. Gustaf “Gus” Bryngelson’s “mini museum.” 

A little more than a year ago, Gus acquired two 40-foot shipping containers — the 9-foot-high, single use models. Gus noted, “The retired containers are much cheaper. but in poor condition, the single use are like new.” The type of steel used in the construction of these containers is very difficult to cut through, are insulated with fiberglass for the fire proof quality, and framed and paneled on the inside. In the summer, Gus uses a small AC unit to keep the temperature at a good level. A small heater keeps them warm enough in the winter. A de-humidifier is used year round.  

A little more than a year ago, Gus acquired two 40-foot shipping containers — the 9-foot-high, single use models. Gus noted, “The retired containers are much cheaper. but in poor condition, the single use are like new.” The type of steel used in the construction of these containers is very difficult to cut through, are insulated with fiberglass for the fire proof quality, and framed and paneled on the inside. In the summer, Gus uses a small AC unit to keep the temperature at a good level. A small heater keeps them warm enough in the winter. A de-humidifier is used year round.  

The uniforms are mounted on custom-made mannequins built to be the correct size for each uniform. Some of the heads are detailed from photos of the person who wore the uniform.

The uniforms are mounted on custom-made mannequins built to be the correct size for each uniform. Some of the heads are detailed from photos of the person who wore the uniform. Gus said that he finds a real-looking mannequin gets a better response from the public than the sanitary IWM style mannequins. He added, “If people can see the uniforms as if a person was still in them, they are more sympathetic to the people who served in the past.”

The small, delicate, and valuable items are in plexi-covered display cases so Gus is able to allow groups of Scouts and the general public to view the collection with out direct supervision. Video cameras cover the entire collection so if something was to go missing, it would be very easy to find what happened to it.

The small, delicate, and valuable items are in plexi-covered display cases so Gus is able to allow groups of Scouts and the general public to view the collection with out direct supervision. Video cameras cover the entire collection so if something was to go missing, it would be very easy to find what happened to it.

He summed up the new display: “It is nice having the entire collection on display as I am able to access it to share with friends around the world through the internet. Since the containers have been installed, I have had many people come tour the collection. In the few months before the Covid shut down, I had more than 200 people through with no problems.”

Before Gus constructed his “mini-museum,” his collection was displayed at various locations throughout the northwestern United States, and a large portion was on display at the Fort Douglas Military Museum in Salt Lake City for 6 months. He summed up the new display: “It is nice having the entire collection on display as I am able to access it to share with friends around the world through the internet. Since the containers have been installed, I have had many people come tour the collection. In the few months before the Covid shut down, I had more than 200 people through with no problems.”

Robert von Zeppelin wrote, “My objective in displaying the uniforms is to show what a complete-as-possible uniform looks like. In some areas of my house, one has to slide through the displayed uniforms like a snake!"

Robert Von Zeppelin's Uniforms on display range from the War of 1812 through the Cold War.

Uniform of Reichsleiter Philipp Bouhler, Chief of the Chancellery of the Führer of the NSDAP.

Uniform of Reichsleiter Philipp Bouhler, Chief of the Chancellery of the Führer of the NSDAP.

This uniform was worn by George C. Scott in the 1970 movie, “Patton.”

This uniform was worn by George C. Scott in the 1970 movie, “Patton.”

On the left, a uniform worn by Clark Gable during his WWII service. On the right, a high altitude bomber machine gunner’s flight suit.

On the left, a uniform worn by Clark Gable during his WWII service. On the right, a high altitude bomber machine gunner’s flight suit.

The WWII-related uniforms includes a Command Sergeant Major’s uniform that belonged to a veteran of the Philippines Campaign where he was held as a prisoner of war.

The WWII-related uniforms includes a Command Sergeant Major’s uniform that belonged to a veteran of the Philippines Campaign where he was held as a prisoner of war. 

Ron Brown wrote, “My collection covers the span between the Civil War and present. It features the infantry load-bearing equipment of each era."

Ron Brown uses neutral and soft pastel faces so as to not detract from the display."

Not all collections have to be large to be impressive. Ryan Buda demonstrates this with his Japanese WWII display.

Ryan Buda's War in the Pacific display.

Ryan Buda's War in the Pacific display.

How do you display your collection? 

We would love to see how you display your military collection, no matter how large or small.  Send jpgs with descriptions (mailto:jadams-graf@aimmedia.com and we will share with our readers.

Preserve the memories!

You may also like:

*Collectors show how they display WWI material

*5 tips for when you sell a militaria collection

*Climate control for collection preservation

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