Indiana University is home to a particularly impressive art museum, with world-renowned collections including everything from ancient gold jewelry and African masks to paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso.
Recently, the Special Exhibitions Gallery within the IU Art Museum attained a cutting edge LED lighting retrofit, which faculty says provides many benefits to both the museum and the artworks it illuminates. The cool, clear light of the overhead LED light fixtures provides a color rendering index similar to daylight, without any of the damaging ultraviolet or infrared rays that come with sunlight or incandescent bulbs. This allows viewers to see the true colors of each piece, with no obstruction from colored light, while also reducing damage to the fragile artworks. “Older electric lighting, with a “big spike in the spectral curve” fades paintings and prints unevenly, said IU theater professor Rob Shakespeare, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Even the latest LED lighting systems will still cause pigments to fade, but at a much slower and much more even rate than other lighting technologies.
The museum installed about 60 new dimmable LED lights, which use about 12-15 watts each. Compared to the 90-100 watts used by the old incandescent fixtures, which means 80 percent energy savings for the museum, as well as reduced air conditioning costs, since the LED strip lights produce little to no heat.
The new LED lighting should last the museum much longer – up to 50,000 hours. If all goes well, you can expect to see more galleries within the museum switched over to LED lighting over the next couple years.
Thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle for the quotes and image.