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Cantigny 1st Division Museum Makeover


1st Division – Battle of the Bulge Exhibit

Since its formation in 1917, the 1st Division has been the longest serving division in the United States Army and has seen combat in every major war this past century. To this day, the 1st Division continues to serve in peace-keeping and counter-terrorism operations around the globe. The First Division Museum at Cantigny honors the service of these brave men and women by documenting their history with their elaborate and highly detailed exhibits. With each exhibit portraying a different segment of the 1st Division’s timeline, they offer glimpses into the hardships the 1st Division faced in World War I and beyond.

Benchmark Imaging & Display is honored to have been able to assist Ravenswood Studio, a custom fabrication company that specializes in sets and exhibits, with outfitting the First Division Museum’s exhibits with new graphics. Benchmark was responsible for printing the didactic panels, museum labels, gallery photos, and flip books featured throughout the museum’s various exhibits.

Museum Labels & Didactic Panels

Museum labels and didactic panels are essential elements of any exhibit. Museum labels are crucial in identifying the items being exhibited while didactic panels tell the story of each exhibit.

Since these displays that tell of the sacrifices made by the 1st Division are viewed by hundreds of thousands of museum-goers each year, it was imperative that we produce the highest quality graphic prints possible.  True museum quality printing for the text and photos could only be achieved by our Lambda printer.

These sharp images were printed on a polyester based material known as Lambda Flex.  This material is significantly more durable than paper and does not tear or delaminate, ensuring a long-lasting and high-grade product. We then over-laminated each panel with a matte finish and mounted them to half-inch black sintra, a durable PVC foam board that’s great for mounting graphics.

If you visit the museum, and we hope you do, you’ll see these panels displayed prominently throughout the “First in War” exhibit either mounted directly to the wall, framed, or affixed to easels illuminated by lights. While these are on display in the museum’s permanent exhibits, their durability also makes them ideal for traveling exhibits.

Backlit Lightbox Graphics

For the darker exhibits, the museum chose to use lightbox displays. Printed on a transparent media called duratrans with the Lambda, these eye-popping illuminated graphics are vibrantly colored and easy-to-read. The duratrans transparencies are rendered on a polyester film with translucent diffusion backers to ensure clear, crisp images. These are the best backlit media prints available.

You’ll find these displays throughout both the “First in War” and “Duty First” exhibits.

Custom Flip Book

The museum’s new “Duty First” gallery occupies the 2,500 square foot space that was formerly home to their traveling exhibits. This gallery features interactive exhibits and videos of the veterans themselves sharing their stories. For this exhibit, we printed a replica “How to Fight” manual that would have been issued to soldiers of the 1st Division.

Because this book would be flipped through by numerous museum-goers, it had to be durable—much like everything else in the museum. Each page is composed of three different layers. The top and bottom layers are made of an opaque poly-coated fabric material called PhotoTex and are mounted to a middle layer of blockout vinyl. The pages are durable, but pliable for easy flipping.

The First Division Museum at Cantigny is one of the many museums we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years and we appreciate Ravenswood Studio for allowing us to assist in such a rewarding project to honor those who’ve fought to give us so much.

You can also read about how we helped the National Hellenic Museum refresh their core exhibit, “Greek Story in America.

Didactic panels, museum labels, and gallery photos are just a few of the products we can offer museums and galleries. Benchmark is capable of producing many other sorts of signage and custom wall coverings to help bring any exhibit to life.

“See what Benchmark Imaging & Display can do for your image!”