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LED lighting for museums and art installations

To improve the usability of structures such as museums and galleries by visitors, there are two features that will have a significant weight: the arrangement of the works and their proper lighting.
Although for the first it is correct to rely on professionals such as art curators, as for the provision of light sources we of Led Italy can certainly be of help.

Contrary to what can be imagined, the led lighting design for museums is not a simple task; technicians in fact will often have to deal with some regulatory constraints, imposed by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, which regulate this sector.


The main standard that defines some limits for what concerns the arrangement of lights in these environments is the UNI CEN/TS 16163:2014, with the eloquent title of Conservation of Cultural Heritage – Guidelines and procedures to choose the lighting suitable for indoor exposures’.

This standard provides some recommendations on acceptable minimum and maximum illumination levels taking into account aesthetic and expositive aspects for conservative purposes.

It subdivides the works of art exhibited in museums and galleries into three different classes according to their radiation sensitivity: high, medium and low; for each class, the maximum level of lighting allowed for exhibitions is indicated, also associating the duration of exposure and the spectral composition of the source.

LED lighting solutions for museums and artistic installations made by Led Italy

A historical museum
furnished with light

A Led Italy we are well aware that led lights are perfect to use to illuminate photosensitive objects as being free from ultraviolet and infrared emissions will not degrade in any way the work of art.

It is therefore clear that when we speak to museums lighting nothing is left to chance.

Another specification that the lighting designer will have to take into account when approaching this type of work is the so-called CRI (from the English Color Rendering Index), or the color rendering index. On this index depends the correct perception of the chromatic composition of the object.

Also in this case, the led light for museums and galleries is one of the types of light sources most used in these sectors, being able to return the perception of colors with maximum fidelity.

The designer will also have to consider another important factor that often unites many works of art exhibited in these places: the glass protection cases.

In these cases, in fact, when the provision of led illumination for museums is guaranteed, it will be necessary to take into account a positioning of the lights that avoids the phenomena of reflection on the eyes of the observer; the light sources shall then be positioned outside the field of vision that will open when the reflecting surface is observed.

As regards lighting for exhibitions and therefore enhancing works of art such as paintings, emphasis should be placed on the selection of the correct color temperature; it should be understood that each case must be specifically analyzed, normally the grades most used for this purpose vary between three thousand and four thousand degrees Kelvin.

Conservation works

For example, materials such as silk, tapestries, watercolours and mummies are considered to be extremely sensitive to light; these works will have a maximum permitted lighting for exhibitions of 50 lx.

Frescoes, tempera and oil paintings, wood and ivory are materials considered to be moderately sensitive to light and for which a maximum of 150 lx is allowed. Among the materials relatively sensitive to light to be illuminated with a maximum of 300 lx we will find instead stones, ceramics, glass and metals.

With the symbol LX we are indicating the unit of measurement for illumination LUX that is the luminous flux per unit surface.

These classes, as well as for the protection of the works from radiation, were designed to ensure the correct lighting for museums, necessary to make all the details distinguishable to the observer.

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