Research Output
Lighting and Museum Exhibits
  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.

  • Date:

    01 September 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Oxford University Press

  • DOI:


  • Library of Congress:

    NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    729 Design & decoration

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Innes, M. (2017). Lighting and Museum Exhibits. In C. Papadopoulos, & H. Moyes (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Light in Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



conservation lighting, virtual restoration, digital projection, shadow, texture, depth, colour rendering, colour temperature, glare, reflections, disability glare, phototropism, raking light

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