Art Museum Lighting

Art Museum Lighting

Every location has its own unique lighting needs to achieve the goals of the location. For instance, art museum lighting has a few special considerations to be made when choosing the right lighting plan. Here are 5 tips on creating successful art museum lighting.

1. Invest in LED lights.

Any type of bulb that gives off too much heat is an automatic no-no for artwork. Since artwork can be easily manipulated or damaged by outside influences like heat, you want to stay away from bulbs that produce heat. The best bet is LED technology which produces little to no heat at all. They also don’t create the same levels of infrared ultraviolet outputs as other bulb types.

2. Opt for downlight over uplight.

While uplight may seem like the obvious choice for artwork, it can actually create harsh shadows on the frame which will be distracting to the eyes of viewers. The use of downlight can minimize these shadows and push them down to the floor. Whether you choose a wall sconce or mounted arm fixture, you should also pay attention to where the illumination spread will fall.

3. Don’t overdo the lighting.

A museum doesn’t need to have every square inch covered with lumens to be effective. In fact, most museums prefer lower light levels to create a more relaxed ambiance. When looking to create a way to linger and consume art more comfortably, leave areas of low light with benches or chairs so the focus stays on the artwork and not the sitting or viewing area. A great way to do this is to balance out the lumen output by having a higher output light directly over the paintings and lower lumen lights throughout the rest of the space. You can also play with color temperatures to get the best level of low lighting with warm tones.

4. Create layers of light.

A good lighting plan is one that offers several layers of light. While you need the obvious lights for highlighting the artwork, you also need viewing area lights, overhead general lighting lights, emergency exit signs, and hallway lights, depending on the location. Each of these aspects should meet different requirements to be successful. You should also mix and match the fixture types to get the best layering effect. For instance, use wall mounted sconces in viewing areas and overhead recessed cam lights in the hallways. The key with layering is to pay attention to the different light levels, color temps, and fixture types to make sure they all work together as a whole.

5. Install lighting controls.

When it comes to saving money, lighting controls are essential. From occupancy timers to options that shut the lights off automatically after hours, there are lots of tools available to make your lighting more efficient. Dimmable technology is also a good bet for this type of location. If you need to change up the lighting levels based on the needs of a particular art installment, you can easily do so with dimmable LED lights.

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