Three requirements you must know about museum lighting design

Three requirements you must know about museum lighting design

The museum is an institution for the collection, protection, research, display, and promotion of various cultural-historical relics, and artworks. The designer must fully consider the proper protection of these precious historical and cultural properties. And must protect them from optical radiation including visible radiation, ultraviolet radiation, and infrared radiation damage. The ultimate pursuit of museum lighting is to create a good visual environment for the audience. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure the proper illuminance of the exhibits and minimize the damage to the exhibits caused by optical radiation. To solve this problem, high requirements are put forward on all aspects of lighting design such as the selection of lighting fixtures and light sources.

Requirements for showroom lighting

1. Choose the right color temperature

In the lighting design of the museum, the shaping of the atmosphere of the scene, the presentation of the colors & the materials of the exhibits are particularly important. Generally, it is recommended to use a light source with a color temperature of less than 3300K for museum lighting, while maintaining the integrity of the color temperature for the museum exhibition hall environment. Compared with traditional light sources such as metal halide lamps and halogen lamps, LED lights to have the advantage of better control of chromatic aberration, making the light purer.

2. High-color rendering lights

In the lighting design of museums, for places with high requirements for color discrimination, such as display paintings, colored fabrics, and multi-color exhibits, there should use LED light sources with a general color rendering index (Ra) of not less than 90. For those applications with general requirements for color discrimination, a light source with a general color rendering index of not less than 80 can be used. The color rendering of the light source directly affects the performance of the hue and saturation of the colors of the exhibits. Normally professional museum lighting LED chips can provide lighting with a color rendering index of up to 95.

3. Control of glare

Glare is one of the important considerations in the lighting design of the museum. In addition, attention should be paid to the bright contrast and uniformity of the exhibits. Find the best visual comfort in the balance of light, shadow, and brightness points.

4. Shaping the three-dimensional sense

In museum lighting design, a combination of general lighting and accent lighting is usually used. For example, for three-dimensional exhibits, the combination of directional lighting and diffuse lighting is used to outline the details. For some large three-dimensional exhibits, directional and reflective lighting are used to project from both sides, resulting in varying degrees of shadows and highlighting the three-dimensional sense. Exhibition lighting should reflect the three-dimensional artistic effect of cultural relics through different brightness contrast, light and dark matching, light and shadow combination, and use of light to give cultural relics vitality and realistic presentation.

Three requirements you must know about museum lighting design (1)

Lighting design of the showroom

1. General requirements

  • The brightness ratio between the exhibits and their background should not be greater than 3:1.
  • At the entrance of the exhibition hall, there should be a transition zone, and the illumination level in the zone should meet the requirements of dark adaptation.
  • For low-illuminance exhibition rooms that display objects that are particularly sensitive to light, a transition zone that adapts to vision should be set up.
  • In museums that fully adopt artificial lighting, emergency lighting must be installed.

2. Light sources and lamps

  • Use LED lights.
  • Choose specially designed lamps according to the lighting requirements of the display objects and the environment.

3. Display lighting

Wall display lighting
  • Directional lighting
  • The light source should be arranged in the “reflective image area without light source”.
Three-dimensional exhibit display lighting
  • Use a combination of directional lighting and diffuse lighting, and directional lighting should be the main method.
  • The color temperature of the light source of directional lighting and diffuse lighting should be uniformly close.
Showcase display lighting
  • The heat generated by the light source in the showcase should not stay in the showcase.
  • Hide the light source in or outside the showcase so the audience won’t directly see the light source.
  • Don’t generate the reflected glare of the light source on the glass surface of the showcase, and the reflection of the audience or other objects should be reduced to a minimum.

Protection of exhibits

  1. The ultraviolet radiation and infrared radiation from the light source should be reduced so that the relative content of ultraviolet light is less than 75μW/1m.
  2. For exhibits that are sensitive or particularly sensitive to light, in addition to limiting the lighting level to not greater than the standard value, the exposure time should also be reduced. When the museum is closed, the exhibits should be in a darkened state.
  3. For the national special-grade protected cultural relics that are sealed in a vacuum or in an inert gas environment and kept in a special showcase or special exhibition room, which are particularly sensitive to light and are particularly precious, it is only allowed to expose them under the specified illuminance when they are in special exhibition needs.
NOVA-UM Series LED Floodlight
NOVA-UM Series LED Floodlight
NOVA-UM Series LED Floodlight
NOVA-UM Series LED Floodlight
NOVA-UM Series LED Floodlight

With over 15yeas experience in the LED lighting industry, we can not only manufacture the best quality lighting products but also provide the best lighting design for your museum.



Our company as one of the best architectural lights manufacturers mainly focuses on the Europe & North American market, the main product includes LED high bays, low bays, canopy lights, shoebox lights, wall packs, gas station lights, lamp accessories, and LED modules, etc…as a leader in manufacturing and marketing of LED lighting. For providing a high-quality manufacturing environment and professional lighting assembly, we introduced many SMT automated production lines & advanced equipment and have the ability to do OEM/ODM orders. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in our products and hope we could cooperate with each other and create a bright future for our business.

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Contact Us: Guangdong Yibai Optotech Co., Ltd

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