Guidelines for Selecting Solid-State Lighting for Museums

In the early 2000s LED lighting was little more than a hardware store novelty. One museum lighting specialist noted that back then, LEDs didn't shine; they barely glowed. Coupled with poor color rendering, unknown stability, and unpredictable lifespan it is hard to imagine a less auspicious debut. In the years since, LEDs have evolved to begin taking a respected place in museum displays.
As with any paradigm shift, these changes come with uncertainty and many questions. Facilities managers are attracted by the claims of energy efficiency yet ask, given the cost per lamp, is cost recovery realistic. Conservators are resistant to exposing the most sensitive artifacts to new light sources. Curators wonder if the color quality of LEDs is up to the task of communicating an aesthetic message as well as daylight or incandescent lighting has done for almost a century.
In answer to these questions, the GCI is pleased to make available Guidelines for Selecting Solid-State Lighting for Museums by GCI Senior Scientist James Druzik and Stefan Michalski, Senior Conservation Scientist, Canadian Conservation Institute. Guidelines compares LEDs to traditional lighting and points readers to high-quality Department of Energy resources for further information. It not only discusses lighting efficacy, lifespan, lumen maintenance, color rendering, cost and payback, but it is the only publication that includes warranty coverage.
To receive your free copy of Guidelines for Selecting Solid-State Lighting for Museums in PDF format please send an email with:

1) Your name and title
2) Name of your institution
3) Short statement outlining the reasons for your interest in solid-state lighting

to Jim Druzik at
For a full set of museum case studies and other lighting resources please go to the U.S. Department of Energy's museum demonstration project page.

Last updated: March 2015