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 6 Considerations in Museum Display Lighting Design


Museums are a constant source of fascination for humanity. They reflect our history, our creativity and our ingenuity through well-designed displays. However, in creating these displays, it's vital that we use elements that add to the overall atmosphere and prevent damage to the items on display. Our world's new focus on sustainability requires that we use lighting that provides the best efficiency without compromising the display's design. Here's a quick rundown of some basic considerations you'll want to keep in mind when you're designing your next museum display lighting design.

  1. What will you be displaying? If you're dealing with old artifacts or artwork, UV light and bright light in general can cause irreparable damage to those pieces. If you've ever walked into a museum that has signs banning flash photography, that's why. UV light can cause pigments and binders to break down; can cause color fading in natural materials and other types of damage to your displays. Consider LED lighting which is naturally free of UV emissions.
  2. Daylight is free, variable and may be damaging. Though it's become much more common to let the light in with modern museum design, natural daylight isn't consistent and may cause harm to the objects you're displaying. Cloudy days, different angles of the sun through the day or year and any number of other aspects can change how your display works.
  3. Artificial lighting provides control of the display environment. By adding artificial lighting to your display, you can draw attention to specific areas of the display with spotlights without causing damage to more sensitive areas. Consider aspects of the room and display such as reflective materials that can cause glare, requiring careful placement of the lights.
  4. Watch the heat! Though it can be tempting to go for the bright light of halogens, these lights will produce a lot of heat, which can also cause degradation of art pieces and historic artifacts. If you need brighter light on a particular piece, consider adding area lighting rather than spotlights and swap out cool running LEDs for hot halogens.
  5. Don't be afraid of modern lighting design. Slim LED Tape Lighting provides area light, while shifting colors create a unique design for your display that draws attention to the theme and subject matter. It also gives you opportunities to add accent lighting where it may otherwise be too difficult to design into the display.
  6. Consider eye adaptation. It takes about eight minutes for the human eye to adapt from daylight on a sunny day to low-light conditions. Design your display to allow for brighter light at the beginning and low light further into the display area so that you can keep traffic flowing while providing a more comfortable environment.

By taking the time to consider different aspects of museum display lighting, you can make the best possible selection for your exhibit's specific needs. But what if you're not quite sure whether your selection will be the best possible one for your project? The experienced professionals at Light Craft Manufacturing are ready to help. Please feel free to contact us today with any questions, for more information on our lighting systems or to get a quote on your next exhibit's lighting needs.

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