A display case (also called a showcase or display cabinet, or a vitrine) is a cabinet with one or often more transparent glass (or plastic, normally acrylic for strength) sides and/or top, used to display objects for viewing, for example in an exhibition, museum, house, retail store, or restaurant. Often labels or prices are included with the displayed objects, providing information. In a museum, the displayed cultural artifacts are normally part of the museum's collection. In retail, the objects are normally being offered for sale. A trophy case is used to display sports trophies or other awards.
A display case may be freestanding on the floor, or built-in (usually a custom installation). Built-in displays may be mounted on the wall, may act as room partitions, or may be hanging from the ceiling. On occasion, display cases are built into the floor, such as in the Museum of Sydney (in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), where the remains of drains and privies are shown in their original context, along with other archeological artifacts.
There are three types of freestanding showcases: counter, middle floor and wall. Counter showcases are designed to display objects through one side (the "customer side") and have them accessible through the other (the "clerk side"). For this reason, the counter displays are most relevant for stores. The middle floor cases are built to display objects from all sides and are meant to be placed in the middle of the room. Wall showcases, as their name implies, are meant to be placed against a wall where the products are displayed and accessed from the same side. These last two types are used heavily - not only by stores - but also by museums, schools, and especially in homes to showcase valuable items or collections.
Display cases are typically made by specialist companies with a background in woodworking or welding, and come in standard sizes or often are custom order. Display cases are often designed with security in mind and are normally lockable. They also are made in variety of styles, shapes, and materials as available at a store fixture supplier. They can ship pre-assembled or knockdown. Knockdown showcases are shipped in pieces to be assembled by the customer. Pre-assembled showcases are assembled (and usually tested) by the manufacturer and are shipped ready to use. Knockdown showcases are usually lower in price and cheaper to ship, but may be of poorer quality than pre-assembled and may arrive missing pieces.
- "Museum of Sydney Guidebook". Sydney Living Museums. Historic Houses Trust of NSW. Retrieved 2014-01-03. "Underfloor: The remains of first Government House’s drains and privies are exposed below the floor. Also displayed is a selection of relics, ruins and rubbish from the house retrieved by archaeologists in the 1980s."
- "Display cases". The Shop Company. The Shop Company. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
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