Lighting museums and art galleries well is extremely important. Light helps draw attention to works of art while preventing damage to the work itself. Often, these two imperatives tend to conflict with one another: exposing artwork to a source of intense light can sometimes affect its quality. A happy medium is essential to allow optimal visual appreciation of the art and to ensure that its characteristics are not tainted. This is why LED luminaires are the ultimate solution to lighting problems in museums and art galleries.

1) Longer LED Lifespan

The Light-Emitting Diode (LED) was invented during the ’60s, but its technology has evolved only recently to allow its introduction to museums and art galleries. Of all the benefits and advantages of the LED, its duration is the most significant. When compared to its traditional counterparts, it has a 25,000+ hours’ lifetime, which translates to approximately 10 years of museum and art gallery visiting hours.

“Replacing lamps is time-consuming and expensive,” explains Paul Ruffles, principal of the British consultancy agency Lighting Design & Technology. “Plus, changing lights has an impact on access to exhibitions and exposes objects to risk. LEDs go some way in helping with these problems.”

2) Better Preservation of Works of Art

The light cast by LED lamps contains very few infrared rays and no ultraviolet rays whatsoever. This is just one more advantage of LED lamps. Your more fragile artwork will no longer require filters to preserve them from damaging infrared or ultraviolet beams. This will certainly enhance the visitor’s visual experience.

3) Greater energy savings

A survey conducted in 2008 at the Manchester Museum revealed that 50% of the total cost of energy consumption was attributable to the museum’s lighting system. When the museum decided to replace its fluorescent tubes with LED lamps and affix motion sensors to the luminaires throughout its establishment, it reduced its consumption by 89%. It yielded a return on its investment within 18 short months. Note that these figures do not represent the savings on the museum’s air conditioning system.

It just goes to show how a small investment in LED lighting can be lucrative!

4) Superior Color Rendering Index

Many designers may express doubts as to the quality of colour rendering of artwork illuminated by LED lamps. However, this technology has evolved by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Today, the Colour Rendering Index of LED lamps is quite satisfactory. In fact, many museums and art galleries have replaced their traditional luminaires and installed LED lamps in their facilities.

Learn more about to select the proper colour rendering for your museum or art gallery.

In conclusion

Thanks to their exceptional durability, the absence of UV rays and their impressive energy efficiency, LED lamps are truly the optimal solution to light museums and art galleries’ cultural heritage.

Museum lighting infographics


  1. Check your lights with a UV meter. (My UV meter reads from 280nm to 400nm.) I have found that LED bulbs do actually emit UV and also some heat.

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