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LED lighting helps museum illuminate exhibits

Museums come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and some of these institutions have begun using LED lighting to brighten up their exhibits.

For example, The Associated Press reports that the Indiana University Art Museum's Special Exhibitions Gallery has started using LEDs to illuminate its oil paintings. Barry Gealt, an art professor with the university, notes that LEDs allow these works to bask in a warm, yellowish glow.

The museum has used traditional lighting to brighten up its exhibitions since it was built 30 years ago. However, university theater professor Rob Shakespeare points out that LEDs are more energy-efficient than CFLs, which makes them valuable to the museum.

According to Shakespeare, museum staff will equip the gallery with about 60 LED lamps that use 12 to 15 watts each. By comparison, the incandescent bulbs that were used in the past required between 90 to 100 watts apiece, and museum officials anticipate they will be able to enjoy significant savings with LEDs.

Museum team members expect the institution's works to last longer when they are illuminated by LED lighting. Shakespeare said the museum's older electric lighting faded painting and prints unevenly in the past, but he does not anticipate that this will be a problem in the future. While LEDs will still cause pigments to fade over extended periods of time, Shakespeare notes the colors will fade evenly and more slowly.

LEDs are gentler on art than many traditional kinds of lighting. The bulbs deliver a brightness that is equal to many existing technologies and also use less electricity, which helps limit maintenance and replacement costs.

Like museum officials, business operators and homeowners can enjoy the advantages of LEDs, as these bulbs could help these property owners reduce their energy consumption and brighten up their buildings.