Grolier Club

New York, USA


Founded in 1884, the Grolier Club of New York is America’s oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the graphic arts. Named for Jean Grolier (1489 or 90-1565), the Renaissance collector renowned for sharing his library with friends, the Club’s objective is to foster “the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper.” The Club maintains a research library on printing and related book arts, and its programs include public exhibitions as well as a long and distinguished series of publications.

The Exhibit design

Beginning in early 2018, the Exhibition Hall and other ground floor spaces of the Grolier Club will undergo a total renovation. The grandly-proportioned Exhibition Hall has been the heart of the Grolier Club since the construction of the current clubhouse a century ago, a gathering place for Grolier members and the general public, doing triple-duty as our primary display gallery, our auditorium, and (on the upper balcony) “visible storage” for much of our rare book collection.

Designed by Ann Beha Architects, the improvements are described as an effort to enhance the historic interior spaces by incorporating modern technology and new materials.

The display cases

The project consists of 8 wall display cabinets with door opening guaranteed by special "four bar chain" hinges and 3 tables with motorized and remote-controlled pantograph opening. All the showcases are equipped with a system for air circulation through the silica gel compartment, as well as humidity, temperature and sensor systems for security, such as locks and alarms, all connected through a computerized system that traces and records any changes every 5 minutes, reporting to the curators and conservators the status of each display case. All the showcases are connected to an intranet and internet network in order to record any event and transmit it online to the conservators both during routine activities and in case of alarm. Each display case is also equipped with lighting, also adjustable and dimmable via tablet. The internal fittings guarantee the flexibility of the display methods guaranteeing the compatibility of the materials used in the construction. Each display cabinet is also equipped with an air filtering system to purify the internal microclimate from polluting agents (both acidic and basic substances, so me also from organic ones) in order to guarantee a perfect conservation of the works of art and collections on display.