Two panels of a Triptych at the Museum of the Order of St John. Metaphor.

Have your say on lighting

Rebecca Atkinson, 17.01.2011
Should museums invest in LED lighting? Does the energy-efficiency argument outweigh concerns about colour quality? Join the debate...
Manufacturers claim the energy efficiency of LED lighting is worth the initial outlay costs, but critics claim the quality of light is not up to scratch.

Whether your museum has invested in LED lighting or not, have your say on the issue below.


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20.03.2015, 11:24
Museums and galleries need to look seriously at changing to appopriate LEDs as funds become available. There is not just the savings in energy but also staff time in changing the lamps and reduced risk to staff and object by not needing to access the lights so often. I've found on a couple of LA projects that there were extra funds available from council 'green' funds to pay for energy saving projects like LED upgrades. The recent SLL Museum & Gallery lighting guide has lots of sound advise on LED lighting.
Richard Kenward
MA Member
Consultant Photographer, Precision Drum Scanning
13.12.2013, 14:37
I'm repeating what I've said to another discussion about lighting:

In the case of artwork or items where correct colour rendering is important, insufficient attention is being paid it would seem to the effect of spiky lighting.

Daylight has a smooth spectral curve but LED and fluorescent lighting does not. They have spikes and minus spikes which means that parts of the spectrum are rendered incorrectly and in some cases this is very pronounced.

Solux lights do not suffer from this problem but they are halogen bulbs and cost more to run and run hot however a number of art galleries use these for their superior colour rendering. Just thought it would be useful to draw attention to this as art galleries and museums are seduced into equipping with LED lighting.
Lynn, Conservation Officer, Saffron Walden Museum
MA Member, MJ Subscriber, MP Subscriber
03.02.2011, 16:13
We were quite pleased with the LEDs in the same shape as fluorescent tubes recently installed in our Ceramics gallery, where the colour is accurate, if a little cold. However other LED bulbs replacing GU10s on tracks keep blowing, although they are from a reputable firm with big alumium flanges engineered to disperse the heat. We will have to look at a voltage optimiser - it may be our electrical current, rather than the bulbs, which is at fault. The Museum has to demonstrate it's saving energy and saving money. How safe are LEDs above a costume display? Has anayone done any work on fading of textiles?
03.02.2011, 11:09
We invested in LED lighting throughout the museum last winter, not only has it saved money and time - not having to constantly change bulbs is a boon, but we have also found the quality of light has imroved the displays giving a 'daylight' feel to the texts and objects, making them easier to read and view.
20.01.2011, 10:19
At this rate of cuts some museums may find that lighting will have to be done by candles! LED lighting has come on in leaps and bounds but obviously it depends upon the displays that some museums have. Who will pay for this as the way its looking there will be no funds to even open some museums if the Tory/Lib Dems have there way. Invest in the arts and museums I say!!!!