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New Museum Lighting for People and Paintings

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Anya Hurlbert



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The biggest challenge for museum lighting today is keeping up with the concurrent rapid changes in light technology and the understanding of how light affects human behavior. Just as biologists are discovering new pathways in the brain that mediate people’s response to light both visually and non-visually—modulating mood, health, alertness, perception, and performance (Bauer et al. 2018; Spitschan 2019; Vandewalle et al. 2009)—engineers are developing new smart lighting technologies that can modulate illumination spectra in real time to fit the time of day, the place, the people, and the task at hand (Chew et al. 2016; Hertog et al. 2015; Llenas and Carreras 2019; Llenas et al. 2019). Behavioral studies in the workplace, classroom and clinic have demonstrated the effects of spectrally varying light exposure on mood, cognitive function, visual comfort and the sleep-wake cycle (e.g. Choi et al. 2019; Figueiro et al. 2017). Yet museums—where artworks and artifacts need the right light to be seen, appreciated, and conserved, and viewers often want to experience deep feeling as well as to learn or be entertained—should be at the forefront in capitalising on these new technical and scientific advances.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hurlbert A, Cuttle C

Publication type: Editorial

Publication status: Published

Journal: Leukos

Year: 2020

Volume: 16

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-5

Print publication date: 02/01/2020

Online publication date: 04/11/2019

Acceptance date: 01/10/2019

ISSN (print): 1550-2724

ISSN (electronic): 1550-2716

Publisher: Taylor and Francis Inc.


DOI: 10.1080/15502724.2019.1676019