SEAHA-aligned student Daniel Garside publishes research into museum lighting practice

In his work, Danny Garside reports on a series of interviews with museum professionals who are involved in lighting specification within their institutions. This was conducted to increase understanding of what factors are considered, and which metrics are used. Specific focus was given to exploring which lighting industry parameters (lux, CIE-Ra, CCT) are commonly used, and also to understanding the evolving place of LEDs in museums. Example questions included the following:

  • Do you/colleagues assess that lighting is ‘safe’ to objects? If so, how?
  • What factors are preventing your institution from using LEDs more widely?
  • How much thought is given to the choice of the colour temperature of lighting?

Preliminary results indicate that museum lighting selection is a complex process involving a variety of museum professionals composing internal staff and outside contractors, a range of guidance legislature and literature, operating in the context of a lighting market experiencing an unprecedented rate of technological advancement. The tools currently available to aid the selection process are limited in scope and applicability, and are sometimes misunderstood and mistrusted.

One of the long term goals of Danny’s research is to narrow the gap between the parameters that manufacturers consider when designing and marketing lighting, and those used by museum professionals as they choose lighting. Narrowing this gap should allow for museums and manufacturers to work more closely together to improve museum lighting for the benefit of visitors, and in order to limit damage to objects.

Danny is a PhD researcher within the 3DIMPact group, working since May 2015 on a project funded by an EPSRC iCASE award supported by Philips and The British Museum, and aligned with SEAHA.

The paper has been published open access:

How is museum lighting selected? An insight into current practice in UK museums


Danny conducting research in the British Museum, London. Photo credit: Mona Hess