The William H. Gross Stamp Gallery is a new $66 million addition to the National Postal Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the world’s largest museum gallery dedicated to philately, the study of stamps and postal history. While the 12,000-square-foot interior of the museum displays a number of dynamic exhibits, unique artifacts and rare stamps, the exterior of the gallery needed its own eye-catching element to entice visitors and to stand out from other nearby attractions.
The architectural firm of Cho Benn Holback and Associates, decided to create an exterior wall of 54 illuminated windows portraying reproductions of individual stamps on display inside. AGC Glass Co. North America was selected to support the unique design requirements needed to make this new addition stand out. By combining its Krystal Klear® low-iron glass and the digital imaging technology utilized to produce Krystal Images™, the company was able to successfully replicate the original stamp images with exacting color. AGC worked closely with the design team to give the stamps the exact color saturation they required.
To help bring each of the 54 stamp reproductions to life, the glass was used in the exterior windows. The high-resolution print technology of Krystal Images allowed for images to display up to 1,440 DPI. This glass was combined with an outboard lite of Energy Select™ 63 low-E glass to create an energy-efficient insulating glass unit.
The completed project, installed by Ridgeview Glass Inc. based in Upper Marlboro, Md., features approximately 1,500 square feet of the glass that provides a striking nighttime glow depicting how the history of stamps is intertwined with the history of America.