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  • September 23, 2022 2 min read

    Art museum lighting has its own unique lighting needs that need to be taken into consideration when choosing the right lighting plan. Here are some suggestions on how you can implement the best art museum lighting.

    When developing your lighting plan, it important to note that installing bulbs that give off too much heat should be avoided so that the artwork isn't damaged or manipulated. We recommend implementing lighting fixtures with LED technology, which produces little to no heat at all. They also don't produce the same levels of infrared ultraviolet outputs as other bulb types.

    Even though uplight may seem like the most appropriate choice for artwork, it could potentially produce harsh shadows on the frame, which will be distracting to the eyes of viewers. Instead, we recommend using downlight to help minimize these shadows and push them down to the floor. Regardless if you choose to install a wall sconce or mounted arm fixtures, you should take note of where the illumination spread will fall.

    Also when it comes to a museum, you don't need to have every square inch covered with lighting to be effective. Actually, most museums prefer lower light levels, which creates a more relaxed ambiance. If you're looking to encourage viewers to linger and consume art more comfortably, leave areas with low light levels like benches or chairs alone, and shift your focus your attention to the artwork being properly illuminated instead. An ideal way to do this is to balance out the lumen output by placing higher output directly over the paintings and place lower lumen lights throughout the rest of the space. You can also experiment with different color temperature to get the best level of low lighting with warm color tones.

    When developing a lighting plan, consider adding several layers of light. While its imperative that artwork is properly highlighted, you also need viewing area lights, overhead general lighting lights, emergency exit signs, and hallway lights, depending on how your location is setup. Each of these areas have different lighting requirements. We also recommend the mix and match of different fixture types for the best layering effect. For example, use wall mounted fixtures in viewing areas and overhead recessed can lights in the hallways. The most important factors to take into consideration when it comes to proper layering is pay close attention to the different light levels, color temperatures, and fixture types, which will help make sure they all work in unison without any issues.

    Installing lighting controls can help save your art museum in monthly utility costs. For instance, occupancy timers can help shut the lights off when no one is present, or timers help ensure lights are shut off automatically after hours. There are lots of tools available you can implement to help make your lighting more efficient. Also, dimmable technology is also ideal for art museums as well. Especially, if you need to change up the lighting levels based on the needs of individual or particular art installments, you can easily achieve this with dimmable LED lights.