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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Museums exist to display and preserve valuable artefacts. Display lighting helps fulfil one of the main tenets of a museum, but excessive light causes irreparable damage to sensitive exhibits. Getting the balance between good display lighting and good conservation conditions is often difficult, but not impossible. Good exhibit lighting is not accidental. A considered process of design ideation and refinement is required to render exhibits to best effect. This thoughtful process is not explicit in the installation; nevertheless, by analysing methodologies that an experienced designer may consider as ‘intuitive’, the author establishes the critical design practices that underpin effective lighting for museum exhibits. The author explores factors that may impair viewing conditions and how the human physiological response to light can work against us in dimly lit galleries. However, considered use of light can reveal details of texture, shape, and decoration that could easily be missed in low light conditions.

Keywords: conservation lighting, virtual restoration, digital projection, texture, colour rendering, colour temperature, glare, reflections, phototropism, raking light

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