Eight years ago, LED lighting was little more than a hardware store novelty. As one museum lighting specialist noted at the time, LEDs didn't shine—they barely glowed. With poor color rendering, unknown stability, and unpredictable life span, it is hard to imagine a less auspicious debut for LED lighting. However, in the few years since, LEDs have begun occupying a respected place in museum displays.

As with any paradigm shift, these changes create uncertainty and raise questions. Facilities managers are attracted by the claims of energy efficiency, yet they ask, given the cost per lamp, if cost recovery is realistic. Conservators resist exposing the most sensitive artifacts to new light sources. And curators wonder if the color quality offered by LEDs is capable of communicating an aesthetic message as well as daylight or incandescent lighting has done for almost a century.

In answer to these questions, the GCI is pleased to make available Guidelines for Selecting Solid-State Lighting for Museums by GCI Senior Scientist James Druzik and Stefan Michalski, Senior Conservation Scientist, Canadian Conservation Institute. Guidelines compares LEDs to traditional lighting and points readers to high-quality Department of Energy resources for further information. Not only does the document discuss lighting efficacy, life span, lumen maintenance, color rendering, glare, cost, and payback, it is also the only publication that includes information on warranty coverage.

To receive your free copy of Guidelines for Selecting Solid-State Lighting for Museums in PDF format, please send an email to Jim Druzik at jdruzik@getty.edu and include the following: (1) your name and title, (2) the name of your institution, and (3) a short statement outlining the reasons for your interest in solid-state lighting.

For more information about the GCI's work to improve museum lighting, visit the Museum Lighting Research project.