The best view of a world cultural heritage thanks to SCHOTT MIROGARD® Protect DARO

NEW: Abbey Library, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Project

Background
The Abbey Library of St. Gallen in Switzerland is a treasure chamber of European tradition and the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Abbey District St Gallen. It ranks among the most important historical libraries in the world. In the richly ornamented Baroque hall, temporary exhibitions in showcases present collections from its unique assortment of over 2,100 manuscripts, whose origins date back to the 4th century AD.

These precious exhibits literally need to be shown in the right light. On the one hand, it is important for the viewer to be able to see the old manuscripts in as an attractive way and as true to the original as possible. On the other hand, they cannot be permanently exposed to unfavorable light radiation; otherwise the colors and inks will bleach out too much.
Protection against light is a key issue for most museums. Conservators usually recommend a flat-rate limit of 50 Lux for the permanent illumination of paper and textiles. “We therefore wanted to reduce the exposure to light and darken the room somewhat,” says Abbey Librarian Dr. Cornel Dora in explaining the initial situation.
Challenge
But how could this loss of light be compensated for and the manuscripts continue to be presented with good lighting? The Abbey Library saw optimization potential in the showcases, in particular. Although their special structure with roof-shaped inclined windows provided a comfortable view of the exhibits, conventional glazing reflected the bright sunlight that came in through the large hall opposite the window.

Solution
The Abbey Library turned to SCHOTT with the idea of improving the impaired vision with the help of anti-reflective glass display cases. The specialty glass expert recommended a product from its extensive range of glasses for use in museums, collections and galleries that offered many advantages: the picture glazing glass MIROGARD® Protect DARO.
Last, but not least, SCHOTT met a special wish that the client had expressed: In order to complete the replacement of the glass in the first test display case as quickly as possible, the old panes in St. Gallen were removed and reproduced in the proper size using MIROGARD® Protect DARO by a partner based in nearby Winterthur. Thus, the display case could be used again only two days later.
Reflections from the showcases with the old glazing impaired viewing of the exhibits quite considerably © SCHOTT / Tobias Hauser
Reflections from the showcases with the old glazing impaired viewing of the exhibits quite considerably © SCHOTT / Tobias Hauser
Unique manuscripts are exhibited in display cases in the Baroque hall of the Abbey Library in St. Gallen. Thanks to MIROGARD® Protect DARO from SCHOTT, they are now much more visible © SCHOTT / Tobias Hauser
Unique manuscripts are exhibited in display cases in the Baroque hall of the Abbey Library in St. Gallen. Thanks to MIROGARD® Protect DARO from SCHOTT, they are now much more visible © SCHOTT / Tobias Hauser

Team

Processor
Keller Glas AG, Winterthur

Glass manufacturer
SCHOTT

Material

Protection from glare and UV light
The optical anti-reflective glasses from the MIROGARD® family reduce the reflection of the incident light to less than 1%. In addition, they are completely neutral in color and allow for the colors of the showpieces to appear true to the original. The product version chosen in this particular case, MIROGARD® Protect, also offers the exhibits the best possible protection. The laminated safety glass consists of two panes of special glass that are each two millimeters thick. A 0.38 millimeter thick PVB film that filters out 99% of the ultraviolet (UV) portion of the irradiating light has been inserted in-between them. This means the high-energy radiation with wavelengths of between 300 and 380 nanometers has no chance of damaging the sensitive materials or yellowing the paper. Additional UV filters have also been applied to the windows of the Abbey Library. Unlike the single-pane safety glass that had been used for the showcases before, the laminated safety glass also prevents sharp splinters from falling onto a manuscript and damaging it if the glass happens to break. An additional effect is that, because the broken glass remains adhered to the integrated plastic film, no unauthorized access to the valuable exhibits is possible. This reduces the risk of theft and vandalism.
The difference between anti-reflective picture glazing (right) and SCHOTT MIROGARD® DARO (left) can be seen immediately. Thanks to this durable, anti-reflective coating with oleophobic properties (DARO – left), fingerprints and smudges on picture glazing don’t have a chance compared to an antireflective coating without DARO.
The difference between anti-reflective picture glazing (right) and SCHOTT MIROGARD® DARO (left) can be seen immediately. Thanks to this durable, anti-reflective coating with oleophobic properties (DARO – left), fingerprints and smudges on picture glazing don’t have a chance compared to an antireflective coating without DARO.
No chance for fingerprints
The presentation inside the display cases benefits from yet another innovation that gives the picture glazing its name, so to speak: MIROGARD® Protect DARO has a durable anti-reflective coating with oleophobic properties. The glass is thus resistant to fingerprints, dirt and water and is easy to clean with a soft, damp cloth. SCHOTT recommended the coating because the viewer steps directly up to the display case and can touch it. The resulting smudges spoil the view of the exhibits.