Rick, “Brilliant” observations and comments, as always! The Shelburne is THE place we are all watching to see how very high quality LED’s perform. And your point about ROI is an important one. Fluorescent lamps certainly win the race on return on investment in a storage area where lights are generally off. It’s easy to control UV with tube shields, they are cheap, quickly replaced and efficient. Hard to beat.
That said, I’ll play devils’ advocate for LED’s for a couple of other reasons:
* Fluorescent tubes of ANY color temperature are strictly a discontinuous source. The spectral distribution curves (SPD – see above) for fluorescent lamps are essentially deep valleys of no visible light with occasional very steep peaks of tons of visible violet (436 nm), green (547 nm), yellowish green (575 nm) and orange (625 nm).
* That means that fluorescent light can only reflect violet, green, yellow and orange light off your collections in storage. Your brain will have to (and does) guess about the colors on object surfaces that are missing from the fluorescent output.
* If your collections staff typically uses collections storage to initially study and examine works to avoid handling and transporting them to better lit study areas (ours do almost exclusively) then I would argue that the better spectral output of high quality LED sources – the LSI LumeLEX 2040-C3M2-6S: LED – 3000K – 96.00 CRI by Xicato for example – will give FAR more accurate visual detail and color, and replicate exhibition lighting much better than any fluorescent.
* The LED’s will just cost a bundle and be VERY slow on the ROI.
* Another choice for storage areas, again discontinuous but FAR less so than fluorescent lights, are metal-halide gas discharge lamps or HMI or metal halide lamps. Like fluorescent lamps, these must also have UV filters, but their spectral distribution curve is far more inclusive and they are far more efficient than TH (tungsten-halogen) lamps!
* To compare evenly matched SPD output curves of incandescent, halogens, LEDs, Metal Halides and fluorescent light sources, go to the National Gallery, London’s Museum Lighting Spectral Power Distribution website: http://research.ng-london.org.uk/scientific/spd/ . There you can learn about SPD’s and compare the spectral output of light sources you are considering.