Taner Çelikmez, Leyla Dokuzer Öztürk



Museums collect, preserve, analyse, and exhibit works of art and historical values. There are numerous publications that offer guidance on museum lighting to balance exhibition and preservation requirements.

Some guidelines such as the way of control of illuminance on three-dimensional artefacts, the acceptable illuminance uniformity, and the limiting values for direct glare are missing in literature on museum lighting. The aim of this study is to suggest limiting values for the mentioned lighting requirements, describe the way of lighting control on 3D objects, and to present an approach to evaluate different lighting alternatives in terms of conservation, accurate perception of artworks, and energy consumption.


The evaluation of various lighting alternatives was carried out by reference to the Museum of Palace Collections. The lighting alternatives that can be applied in the exhibition hall of the museum were investigated in the first phase of the study. Twelve lighting arrangement alternatives have been design ed and modelled by means of DIALux lighting software and the results were obtained in terms of preservation, lighting design criteria, and energy consumption. An approach has been developed in which all considered criteria were assessed separately. The results of twelve lighting arrangements were compared according to the presented approach. The number of lighting design criteria that met the requirements and their degree of fulfilment were considered in comparison. Subsequently, the optimal lighting alternatives were determined.


The results acquired in the twelve arrangements designed via the lighting program were compared with respect to illuminance level and uniformity, direct glare, reflected glare, shadow properties, perceptibility of the hall, and energy efficiency. Taking into account all the mentioned criteria the optimum lighting arrangements for the conditions of this study were determined as ‘indirect general lighting and showcase lighting with horizontal linear luminaire behind the upper metal profile’, followed by ‘indirect general lighting and showcase lighting with horizontal linear lamp behind the opal glass ’.

Research Limitations/Implications

So as to limit the conditions of the study, the existing showcase types and the exhibition design were kept constant. It is obvious that more lighting alternatives can be created by considering other types of showcases and exhibition design in addition to the existing ones.

Practical Implications

The evaluation process proposed in this study and discussed using the Museum of Palace Collections as an example can be followed to make the most rational decision regarding the illumination of other exhibition halls.

Social Implications

One of the main objectives of museum lighting is to assure the visitors perceive the properties of exhibited objects comfortably and completely.  The perceptibility of the exhibition hall itself can also be important especially if it has historical value and/or exceptional architecture.  Rational decisions for artificial lighting ensure that the hall and the artefacts displayed within it are fully and comfortably perceived and consequently visitors can benefit as much as possible from the exhibition.


In this study, some missing guidelines for museum lighting are proposed and an approach is presented to evaluate possible different lighting alternatives for exhibition halls. Finally, the importance of simultaneous architectural-, interior-, lighting- and display design is emphasized.


Energy efficiency, glare, illuminance, museum lighting, showcase lighting

Full Text:



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