lighting for collection storage, exhibits

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    • #132443
      Charlene Martin

      I noticed in an NEDCC newsletter that florescent light covered with UV filters on the fixtures or individual tubes was considered considered OK for work areas. Could it be used in storage areas, as well? I intend to have everything stored in archival/artifact boxes

      I am curious about what you all use. Also, what about LED lighting (outside of cabinets) in the exhibit area? Has anyone used them, or found a cheaper alternative?

      Thank you 🙂


    • #132452

      UV filters over fluorescent lamps will reduce UV levels to nil and are OK to use any where.  But more museums are looking to replace fluorescent lighting with LED.  If you have an option you might want to consider LED.

    • #132451

      The colors of fluorescent light are not good for viewing.  There are several lighting companies that have lines of track lighting with fixtures that can take either incandescent bulbs or LED’s.  LED’s cost more at the outset, so it’s important to try them before you buy, but you will save money in the long run, both because the energy use is so low and because the bulbs last for a very long time.  They also put out very little heat, so you save on air conditioning as well.  If you talk to the manufacturers of LED’s and tell them you will be buying a number of bulbs, they will probably send you samples to try out. There re some LED’s that can be dimmed.

    • #132450
      Charlene Martin

      I really appreciate the info about LED, and will advocate them for the exhibit areas. But my employer is questioning whether we need a sprinkler system, so by proxy I think I should go with incandscents/UV sleeves in my work and storage areas.


      If anyone has any low-cost alternatives to a sprinkler system that they recommend, I’d appreciate it. I am finding it difficult to agree to rely only on detectors and fire extinguishers.

    • #132449
      Richard Kerschner

      To my knowledge, there are no low cost sprinkler systems. Water mist suppression systems are great alternatives for museums, but they are still higher cost than conventional wet pipe systems although the cost difference is decreasing. Check out VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) or a similar aspirating smoke detection system. They can detect pre-combustion gasses and warn of a danger long before a fire breaks out. They are much better than room-mounted conventional fire alarms and, although not a suppression system, a significant improvement in fire protection. Compared to a suppression system, they are significantly less expensive and less invasive to install. For advice on the best type of fire protection for your museum, check with Nick Artim of Fire Safety Network.

    • #132448
      Les Kacev

      Incandescent lamps are being phased out because they are energy hogs. Fluorescents contain mercury, are not healthy to work under and are poor at reproducing colors. Whatever sprinkler system you settle on, I would only consider LED lighting because of its many advantages – low power consumption, longevity, low heat, practically no UV or IR [ask for spectral power diagrams to confirm this] good color rendering [if you select the correct lamps, ask for CRI from R1-R15] and ensure that the color temperature suits your application [warm is not necessarily good!]

    • #132447
      Charlene Martin

      Thank you everyone for pointing out some excellent directions for me to go in. I don’t agree with not installing a fire suppression system, but I will definitely supply my employer with information re: very early smoke detection systems (thank you Richard).

    • #132446

      I’m curious about what you wound up doing about the lights, Charlene. I am working with a storage area that has been adapted from other use and has fluorescent lights that I am trying to figure out how to apply filters to properly. I see no realistic possibility of getting different lights installed now, though that’s something that we may be able to advocate for as part of building renovations coming up in a couple of years.

    • #132445

      Many people are staying with fluorescents in storage rather than LEDs. Since storeroom lights are not on for a long time, the energy savings are not substantial. If staff work in storerooms and wants to look at collections with lighting that’s better in color, you can add a work light on the table where you work. The alternatives for UV filters are films that curl around fluorescent lamps, or inserting UV-filtering Plexiglas over the front of the whole fixture.

    • #132444
      Jane Dalley

      I’d like to suggest taking some readings to determine whether UV in fact is a problem. If the fluorescent fixtures are recessed and covered with a plastic screen, you may find there is no problem with UV levels as the screens are often manufactured with UV inhibitors.

      IF UV levels are high, are any records exposed? Material that is boxed is protected. If UV levels are high and archival records are exposed, then one option would be to install the size T5 or T8 LED lamps that can be used in conventional T5 or T8 fluorescent fixtures.

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