Since 1920, the company that has become Snap-on Incorporated has forged its designs into steel solutions for auto mechanics across America. Today, from its headquarters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Snap-on builds on that past as it looks forward to shaping and communicating a wide variety of ideas to make work easier for an even broader group of customers in multiple industries all over the world.
With a 100th anniversary approaching, corporate leaders of the $3.3 billion S&P 500 company decided it was time to update the Snap-on Museum – to reflect more closely the company’s commitment to quality and innovation; to reveal the link between the company’s legacy and the culture that sustains it today; and to demonstrate the global scale of the company’s family of brands beyond Snap-on tools.
When the project’s designer, Kahler Slater Experience Design, needed a partner to fabricate and install 4,000-plus square feet of exhibits at Snap-on in just 21 weeks, the firm called Xibitz. Previous collaborations had proven that Xibitz would have the expertise in fabrication and the management skills to deliver the project on time, while avoiding disruption to daily operations in Snap-on’s adjacent work areas.
Xibitz was responsible for detail design and fabrication of cases, pedestals, platform, wall panel systems, and graphics using glass, metals, wood, laminates and acrylics.
Set in a 25,000-square-foot factory space reclaimed for training and events, the museum showcases more than 500 artifacts, including a Ford Model T – which, when mass-produced with completely interchangeable parts, set a new standard for efficient and rational manufacturing, and Snap-on adapted them as mobile sales vehicles. Also featured are the company’s “5 does the work of 50” tool kit, with which Snap-on established socket tools as the industry standard for fitting interchangeable auto parts; information about the company’s family of brands sold around the world; a 150-foot timeline display; and custom mobile toolboxes that allow reconfiguration for varied audiences.
Snap-on Museum Experience earned an international Merit Award in exhibition design from the Society of Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD)