Creating a museum or gallery space that straddles that fine line between beauty and functionality is no easy task. When faced with an open space and something spectacular to exhibit, it can be difficult to even know where to start, do you want to let the items on display be the sole focus or are you trying to create a whole new world for your visitors to experience?

Immersing your visitors is absolutely crucial when creating a museum or gallery space, but of course this depends on the exhibition. An airy art gallery may require tranquility and practical lighting whereas an eerie Jurassic landscape may demand a complete sensory experience to complement the display.

The fantastic thing about creating a gallery or exhibition space is the level of freedom you can achieve with adaptable spaces. A film area with a projection screen is fantastic for curious children and allows you to offer a concluding narration to your exhibit. After absorbing several spaces/floors of curiosities visitors also tend to enjoy a different experience and a sit down by this point!

But as exciting as creating a space can be, it can seem like a technical minefield. With so many different lighting, sound and audio visual systems available, choosing the best system for you (which will also preserve your exhibit) can be intimidating.

Gently Does It

When displaying old and delicate items ensuring care is taken at every stage is vital. Textiles and pigments are easily damaged when exposed to heat and UV light so it’s important to install the correct lighting to showcase precious artifacts. Ideally this would be well below 10 micro watts per lumen.

While some people assume art is best viewed in natural light, sunlight can seriously damage works composed of pastel, watercolours or photographs, with textiles fading in a matter of months under UV light. This means that fluorescent lights are out of the question, they give off high levels of UV light and don’t emit light across the whole spectrum of colours. Incandescent lighting is also unsuitable as it tends to compliment warmer tones but downplay cooler colours. Low wattage halogen lighting is generally considered the most suitable by art historians and curators.

It goes without saying, in most exhibitions the lighting should be functional and simple to allow the display to do the talking, but in some instances the use of light can be a key component in creating a realistic environment for your guests. A fantastic lighting effect doesn’t have to cost the earth either, a few low green coloured lights can create a realistic jungle scene and low spotlights can create a real ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ effect.

Sound Makes the Show

Taking your visitors to the Sahara Desert? A torture exhibit? Background music and well placed sound effects can turn an impressive exhibit into an entertaining performance. The London National History Museum has an impressive ‘life-like’ T Rex exhibit for example, and as exciting as it is, the effect is achieved with nothing more than a mechanical turning of the beast’s head and some rumbling growls delivered by a comprehensive sound system. Creating great effects is a surprisingly simple process when armed with the right equipment.

A headphone system can also be a fantastic investment, giving visitors the opportunity to experience their own personal guided tour through a pre-recorded narration. This can also be offered in several different languages, attracting further tourism.

Bringing Learning to Life

Museums are one of those rare things in life that offer something for everyone. Whether it’s children getting their first taste of enthrallment from vast steam engines or university students battling with anatomy, the museum offers one of the most engaging learning experiences possible.

Establishing a lecture space or informal classroom space can therefore be essential for any museum looking to promote progression and discovery. Marketing your lecture theatre as a conference space is also an effective way of attracting global visitors and external business.

The choice can seem endless, but with expert help from a professionalstudio installation company, creating an exhibit that will awe is wholly possible. To discuss your ideas for your professional space then get in touch with the sound and lighting experts at PG Stage.

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