Interior of the Abbey Library of Saint Gall in Switzerland

Abbey Library of Saint Gall

The Abbey Library of Saint Gall is a magnificent medieval library in St. Gall, Switzerland. With many of its historically significant books and manuscripts kept in showcases, the library wanted a glass that preserved the inks, while offering the public full visibility of the precious objects.

Background

Situated in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Abbey Library of Saint Gall is described as one of the most key cultural centers in Europe and one of the most important libraries in the world. The ornate building contains over 2,100 manuscripts – one of the oldest collections in Switzerland – with some dating back to 4AD. While many manuscripts are so delicate they have to be kept in special reading rooms, many are available to view in showcases by the 110,000 people that visit the library every year.

Task

All museums, galleries and libraries with works on permanent show face the challenge of protecting their precious artefacts from light. Too much exposure will result in colors and inks fading, losing images and information that can never be restored. While the library wanted to enable the public to see the manuscripts, they faced an extra challenge in having large windows that allowed bright sunlight to flood its rooms.

Solution

The curators of the Abbey Library approached SCHOTT with their challenge of improving visibility of the library’s treasures without exposing them to damaging sunlight. We recommended reglazing the showcases with MIROGARD® Protect DARO, a unique glass laminate that not only offers 99 % reflection-free viewing but also filters out 99 % of UV light.

Knowing that the library is an important cultural and historical attraction, we also fulfilled a special request from the client: to speed up the reglazing process. With the help of local partner Keller Glass, we were able to remove the old glass, replicate it, and reglaze the first showcase in just two days.
Bookcases and showcases in the Abbey Library of Saint Gall in Switzerland
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SCHOTT used MIROGARD® Protect DARO glass to reglaze the library's showcases

Interior of the Abbey Library of Saint Gall in Switzerland with showcases
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SCHOTT MIROGARD® Protect DARO filters out 99 % of harmful UV light

Close up of a showcase in the Abbey Library of Saint Gall with ancient manuscripts inside
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The glass in the showcases also offers 99 % reflection-free viewing

Fingermark resistant and easy to clean

Adding the DARO coating offers a number of additional advantages. As well as strong anti-reflective properties, the coating is oleophobic, making it highly resistant to fingermarks, dirt and water. This not only improves visibility of the manuscripts, but makes the glass easy to clean with a soft, damp cloth.
Dr. Cornel Dora, Librarian at St. Gall
The difference with the new showcase glass is striking. You have a much better view of the exhibits than ever before. Because there are virtually no reflections, you can hardly see the glass at all. Fingermarks are also less visible and easy to remove, saving us a lot of daily cleaning effort.

Showing the artefacts in their best light

The overall effect of SCHOTT’s work with the Abbey Library of Saint Gall is one of invisibility and protection – the most important attributes for showcase glass. Without reflection and fingermarks, visitors can gaze upon the library’s fascinating manuscripts without distraction, while the library’s guardians can take comfort in the lack of potentially damaging UV light radiation penetrating the glass.
Ulrich Huber, Sales Manager at SCHOTT
We recommended the DARO coating because visitors are able to stand directly at the showcases and may put their fingers on the glass. This can create smudges that impair viewing of the exhibits.

Used materials & similar products

MIROGARD® Protect DARO combines the anti-reflection properties of MIROGARD® Protect glass laminate with the DARO coating. While the integrated PVB film of MIROGARD Protect delivers 99% UV protection, the DARO coating provides oleophobic properties that protect display cases from fingerprints and smudges.

Dr. Cornel Dora, Librarian at St. Gall
Dr. Cornel Dora, Librarian at St. Gall
We were familiar with SCHOTT as renowned glass experts. We received good advice and, most importantly, quick service that met our requirements.

A close partnership 

For the Abbey Library of St. Gall project, SCHOTT worked closely with Swiss firm Keller Glas AG. Based in nearby Winterthur, Keller Glas removed the old glass from the showcases, replicated it using MIROGARD® Protect DARO, then re-installed it. This made the entire process quick and simple, with the showcases back in action in just two days.

Glass made by
SCHOTT

Installed by
Keller Glas AG, Winterthur, Switzerland

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