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Museum Lighting: A Guide for Conservators and Curators


David Saunders

Author David Saunders, former keeper of conservation and scientific research at the British Museum, explores how to balance the conflicting goals of visibility and preservation under a variety of conditions. Beginning with the science of how light, color, and vision function and interact, he proceeds to offer detailed studies of the impact of light on a wide range of objects, including paintings, manuscripts, textiles, bone, leather, and plastics.

With analyses of the effects of light on visibility and deterioration, Museum Lighting provides practical information to assist curators, conservators, and other museum professionals in making critical decisions about the display and preservation of objects in their collections.

David Saunders is an honorary research fellow at the British Museum, having been keeper of conservation and scientific research there for ten years, until 2015. He was previously in the Scientific Department at the National Gallery in London. He is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and vice president of the International Institute of Conservation. In 2015-16, he was a guest scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute, conducting the research that underpins much of this book.

“Well researched and clearly written. . . . With its forward-thinking approach to lighting and the updated information on technology, sustainability, and guidelines used in museum lighting, this publication will quickly become an invaluable resource for conservators, curators, and other museum professionals.”
—Diane E. Knauf, News in Conservation

“Comprehensive . . . very firmly rooted in science . . . brimming with usefulness.”
—Jenny Mathiasson, The C Word

“The most definitive work on the subject. . . . An invaluable reference book, which can be accessed hurriedly by those seeking an answer to a particular question or enjoyed in a more leisurely fashion by enthusiasts of colour theory or lighting design. . . . The quality of the research underpinning the content is evident throughout, and the helpful flagging of further reading allows the reader to dig deeper should this be required.”
—Isobel Griffin, ICON News

328 pages
8 x 10 inches
130 color and 9 b/w illustrations, 121 graphs
ISBN 978-1-60606-637-9

Getty Publications
Imprint: Getty Conservation Institute