How does lighting support the museum transformation?

 

October, 2016

 

The role of museums is changing. They are evolving to become more visitor-centric, offering a variety of experiences to people, not just presenting a collection of exhibits. And lighting is playing a very important role in enabling museums to create new experiences for their patrons.

But first, what’s driving this transformation? 

 

In an increasingly digital world, museums are tangible and immersive environments that enable people to experience art and culture. To attract visitors, museums need to offer more than traditional exhibits. People increasingly visit a museum to enjoy a day out with family and friends.  And as a destination, museums often offer a food venue and shop to purchase souvenirs and presents. In short, museums are no longer simply repositories of exhibits; they are becoming people-oriented social venues.

 

Another phenomenon driving the transformation of museums is the increasing popularity of temporary exhibitions. Thanks to the specific combination of venue and collection, these travelling exhibitions offer people a unique experience. For example, the Late Rembrandt exhibition in London was quite different to the Late Rembrandt in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The works of art were the same, but the spaces were very different, resulting in a completely different visitor experience.

 

Museums are also finding new ways to generate additional revenue streams. For example, by offering art workshops, or granting visitors ‘behind-the-scenes’ access to departments such as Art Restoration for a more in-depth view of how a museum works. We’re also seeing museums renting out space for photoshoots, for weddings, or for large companies to host exclusive dinners.

 

All of these trends – visitors wanting a day out, the rise of travelling exhibitions, the need to generate new revenue streams – are increasingly supported by LED lighting. 

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Need for flexibility 

 

Flexibility is critical for museums. With exhibitions often changing every 3 to 4 months, the lighting scheme must be able to adapt – and LED lighting offers that adaptability. LED is highly flexible in terms of color and intensity, is comfortable on the eye, and can be easily adjusted to create different atmospheres. All of these characteristics make it ideal for creating a welcoming environment, whether in the exhibit hall or other spaces such as restaurants, cafés, or gift shops. In short, LED plays a key role in creating the people-focused venue that visitors are looking for.

Balancing presentation and preservation

 

In assessing the quality of its lighting, museum management has to consider many more factors than how well it illuminates the space. In particular, they have to strike the optimal balance between how the artworks look to the public, and protecting them for future generations. Here too, LED lighting is the ideal solution. LED has no UV or IR wavelengths that would otherwise harm and fade the museum’s exhibits. Moreover, it has more consistent color rendering over its lifetime than traditional lighting, so the exhibits are displayed more faithfully.

 

Another key advantage of LED lighting is that, when dimmed, it doesn’t change in color temperature and doesn’t affect the stability of the color rendering. And finally, because LED bulbs do not get hot like traditional bulbs, changing or refocusing the bulbs while on a cherry-picker above a million dollar painting isn’t as daunting a task.

 

All over the world, museums are transforming. Their role is changing as visitors’ expectations change. Museums must adapt to the time and remain relevant in this digital age. Luckily, LED lighting is right there to support, helping to ensure their transition is a resounding success. 

 

Want to know more?

 

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