Cooperstown, UNITED STATES

“Holy Grail” cards will be displayed in the Museum’s Shoebox Treasures Exhibit

Cooperstown, New York, June 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Babe Ruth…Honus Wagner…Mickey Mantle…their legends live on at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (“HOF”). The Museum’s collection includes some of the rarest and most precious baseball cards in existence. At a May 25 ribbon-cutting ceremony, the HOF’s Shoebox Treasures exhibit was opened. The “Holy Grails” section of the exhibit contains ten treasured cards displayed in specially designed cases using a special type of glass from VariGuard SmartGlass, a licensee of Research Frontiers Inc. (Nasdaq: REFR).

Putting these priceless pieces of baseball history on exhibit required a unique solution to an age-old conservation challenge – and VariGuard SmartGlass provided the answer.

The challenge – conservation vs exhibition

Many people know that exposure to UV radiation causes fading damage to many items including baseball cards, and UV-blocking glass is typically used in museum exhibits. However, visible light (the light we can see) also damages substantially, and exposure to too much light causes irreversible and permanent fading and other damage. Museums often keep delicate items in storage because of this conservation issue, and people are unable to enjoy the collections.

The solution – VariGuard SmartGlass – a unique electronically dimmable conservation glass

The HOF selected VariGuard SmartGlass to be used in the displays to protect these precious baseball cards. At the push of a button, the glass instantly changes – from blocking >99.5% of light passing through and striking the cards – to transparent, allowing the pieces to be seen. The only time the “Holy Grail” cards are exposed to light are when they are actually being viewed by Museum visitors. (VariGuard SmartGlass also blocks >99.5% of UV radiation full-time.) VariGuard SmartGlass allows the HOF to display this priceless collection while at the same time providing unprecedented protection against damage from light.

An interactive visitor experience for Holy Grail baseball card collection viewers

VariGuard SmartGlass also offers an interactive experience for museum visitors. When in the light-blocking state, visitors cannot see what is behind the glass – it conceals/hides the item – fostering anticipation and speculation. Then, when the visitor presses a button, the glass instantly becomes transparent – revealing the artifact for the visitor.

Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum comments

“We are very excited about the use of VariGuard SmartGlass in the “Holy Grails” section of Shoebox Treasures. One of the most critical steps in preserving a museum artifact is protecting it from both UV and visible light. SmartGlass technology eliminates 95% of the light exposure that would occur in a traditional museum display case. These rare and valuable cards will only be exposed to light when a visitor is actually looking at them, ensuring that the cards will be preserved for future generations of baseball fans.”

Erik Strohl, Vice President of Exhibitions and Collections, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Mike LaPointe, Co-Founder of VariGuard and baseball lifer, noted, “Our SmartGlass is protecting items in many prestigious museums around the world, from the Smithsonian to Sweden’s Nationalmuseum. But use of our SmartGlass at the Hall of Fame holds special meaning to me, because of my passion for baseball. It’s an honor to be collaborating with the Hall and to contribute to protecting these national treasures.”

Private collectors – change how you think about preserving and exhibiting your own collection

Last month, VariGuard presented at the HOF’s Collection Care and Conservation Workshop for private collectors. You are invited to view the slides used in this presentation. Yesterday Mike LaPointe remarked, “We’re very close to offering new VariGuard SmartGlass display cases and picture frames designed for private collectors. Using the same “smart glass” as the “Holy Grail” baseball cards at the Hall of Fame, people can protect their own items from fading and other damage, yet view them anytime – and they can also dramatically reveal their items to their guests.”

About VariGuard
VariGuard SmartGlass is based on patented SPD light-control technology developed by Research Frontiers (Nasdaq: REFR), and VariGuard has a license from Research Frontiers for using this technology. VariGuard SmartGlass optimally protect items from fading and other damage by limiting their light-exposure to those times people are viewing them, and by blocking UV and IR radiation. VariGuard offers museums and private collectors standard size or custom fabricated picture frames, display cases, table cases and shadowboxes using VariGuard SmartGlass. More information is available on our website at

For further information, please contact:
Mike LaPointe
President, VariGuard SmartGlass