Chiara Del Core 9 feb 2020 Articles 0 comments
The lighting project

The choices regarding the lighting aspect are of fundamental importance for the success of the museum project. First of all, it is necessary to study the type of work exhibited and the message that it must transmit, in order to accentuate its characters and make them noticed by the observer also through the correct lighting. In addition, there are many elements that should be kept in mind because, unlike environments for different uses, the museum must preserve and preserve goods of significant value. This is why there are various elements that need to be analyzed: the constraints to which the works are subject, the organizational aspects of the space and the set-up objectives that must respect creativity but above all the set budget. To correctly calculate the lighting parameters, it is good to consider the individual functions covered by the environment and its sub-areas. In fact, there will be different needs in areas intended for reception, exhibition, sale and parking.

In the museum, each light source must be chosen and positioned according to a specific purpose, leaving nothing to chance. For this reason, it is good to opt for luminaires with diffused, punctual, top, directional and warm or cold shades depending on the need. It is good to specify how the Superintendency establishes generic rules to be followed according to the type and material of the work that must be exhibited and illuminated. In fact, lighting can cause harmful effects due to infrared and ultraviolet radiation; they range from finds insensitive to light, of an inorganic nature such as metals, where 300 lux are also granted, to those very sensitive to light such as paintings containing pigments, inks and lacquers, for which you must not go beyond 50 lux . Incorrect lighting can cause premature degradation of all paper materials, such as papyrus and parchments, which are subject to yellowing and fading and can also lead to the embrittlement of photographic materials. To solve this type of problem, it is possible to use LED lights that do not carry harmful rays. Used in the preparation of the works but also in emergency lighting and signage, they have the advantage of having small dimensions and ensuring a long life. In any case, even this type of bulb must be sized and used without unnecessary excess.

In quest’ambito, è bene quindi prestare attenzione al tipo di opera che va illuminata poichè un quadro necessiterà di una luce diversa rispetto ad una scultura o ad un reperto storico, così come una fotografia sarà valorizzata in modo diverso rispetto ad un papiro antico. Inoltre, è importante tenere presente il messaggio che si vuole inviare al pubblico e i percorsi, se previsti, che si vogliono fare percorrere. A seconda del tipo di illuminazione desiderata, è possibile scegliere tra luce diffusa verso il basso, luce concentrata, luce delimitata e luce riflessa. Stabilito il tipo di luce è bene optare per i corpi illuminanti più adatti a fornirla poiché sul mercato ne sono presenti diversi modelli:
  • Ceiling> spotlights with track, ceiling lights
  • In the false ceiling> recessed spotlights, ceiling lights
  • From the ground> lamps with floor lamp
  • On the wall> applique

Over the years, the idea of museum has changed a lot and the functions it covers have been re-evaluated: the need to make an experience that excites the visitor and leave him a positive memory has spread. Light also contributes to this aim through the use of new technologies and thanks to the integration of acoustic and optical effects that can excite the public. The museum thus becomes a sensory journey where the luminaires are placed according to predetermined designs, with a strong scenic impact. An example of this type of approach is represented by Jean Nouvel's "Desert Rose National Museum of Qatar", inaugurated on March 28, 2019 in Doha. The numerous luminous displays and the rooms equipped with sensorial lights narrate the natural and anthropological development of Quatar, taking on an educational role but also exciting and amazing the visitor.

Interior rooms of the museum with scenographic lighting - Qatar

The recent development of the local museum and the scientific museum

Over the past decades, the need to transmit to future generations the uses and traditions of a specific territorial reality has spread more and more. It is in this way that the museums of the area have found a raison d'etre, designed as containers of local culture and intended for a wider catchment area. One of the characteristics that distinguishes them is the authenticity and simplicity of the layout, designed to effectively inform and pass down elements belonging to the local culture to posterity. The museological project of the interior spaces is studied according to the intent and peculiarities of the exhibits. A recurring idea is to conceive the installation as an integral part of the environment, which can be used directly by the visitor without closed elements and dividers. The intent is to guarantee the user direct involvement and stimulate him to discover more effectively, making him become an active part of the cognitive process.

However, if there are objects of small size and high value, they will be kept and displayed inside display cases and showcases. In addition, another important aspect of the ethnographic museum concerns the ability to combine the past and the present: it is indeed a testimony and local memory of the past but must develop cognitive methods by spreading them in a modern key. Thanks to innovative techniques and contemporary means, the past must be communicated by adapting to today's needs, only in this way can culture become stimulating and engaging. Optical effects, colors, lights and sounds must convey a message and leave a memory. Since the museum today no longer has only the information function but also and above all the training function, the integration of educational activities and experiences related to the exhibition is increasingly widespread. To this end, the standard set-up includes interactive panels, video-documentaries, emotional itineraries and specific workshops that also include practical activities. These educational services are of fundamental importance for the ethnographic museum and allow the public to actively use the exhibition spaces, promoting learning and involvement with respect to the topics covered.

Internal environments of the MAV - Museum of Traditional Valdostan Crafts, Fenis (AO)

Much like the territorial museum, the scientific museum aims to promote culture belonging to the field of science and technology. Introduced to restore valuable value to scientific discoveries, as was customary for artistic heritage, they undergo many changes throughout history. In fact, they originally appeared as austere-looking locations where objects contained within display cases and showcases were kept that could not be touched in any way. It is from the 1960s that scientific museums suffer a crisis caused by the introduction of science centers. The latter stand as witnesses of the past but also as interactive poles attractors who use a playful - educational approach towards the visitor. In fact, the didactic and training aspect assumes a fundamental importance here: observation, interaction and experience become prerogatives to be considered from the first planning stages. The public becomes the protagonist of the visit thanks to the set-up which includes interactive islands and paths where you can touch the exhibited work with your hand.

This is an approach that places discovery at the center of everything: no sequence is imposed, access is free and the visitor must participate sensitively in the event. With the science museum, the classic model of this category is called into question with the aim of enticing the visitor to participate in a manner no longer as passive as in the past. The scientific exhibition involves different types of events and museums: the cities of the sciences where the set-up affects the urban scale, the educational services centers set up to teach, the scientific lunaparks introduced for fun and yet the scientific agoras designed for holding conferences and meetings.

Internal exhibition spaces of the Citè de la Science et l'Industrie - Paris
Photo © B. Ravaux EPPDCSI from

Finally, a museum typology that has spread widely especially in America is represented by university museums. The objective of these institutions is twofold: to preserve and pass on scientific progress through the display of concrete examples and the transmission of studies and research carried out at the site itself. In fact, universities are material artifacts where continuous training and experimentation are the masters. As for the layout inside these types of museums, it often consists of showcases and shelves prepared according to the technological and formal characteristics of the buildings and leaves less space for creativity and user involvement. Full-height wooden wardrobes and shelves, antique display cases and display cases furnish large classrooms where lessons are sometimes held. It is a type of exhibition very different from the classic idea of ​​the museum but also from its direct evolution aimed at amaze and involve the visitor.

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