Illumination of Museum Collections: Optimization of the Visual Experience

November 10, 2016
National Gallery of Art
Washington, DC
Steven Weintraub and Gordon Anson


This one-day workshop will analyze key factors that influence the visual experience of objects on exhibition. The focus will be on how to balance the need for a high-quality visual experience while limiting light-induced damage. Pertinent theoretical and practical issues will be explained through lectures, group discussions and demonstrations. A guided tour through the National Gallery of Art will highlight many of these ideas in practice.

A discussion of essential cognitive principles of vision will provide a theoretical frame-work for understanding the “visual experience.” The workshop will explore how to implement these fundamental principles in a museum setting utilizing recent advances in lighting technology, including LEDs, new lighting control options, the use of daylight, and the merging of new and legacy lighting systems. Although the focus will be on the fine arts, unique concerns specific to historical and natural history collections will also be taken into account. This course is intended for museum professionals who are involved in decision making about illumination of collections.


This workshop is currently sold out. Please email to be added to the wait list.

The fee for this course is $139 for AIC members; $199 for non AIC members. Registration is first come first serve and limited to 30 participants. 

Register for this course by clicking here: AIC/FAIC Store - Events
Online registration requires you to create a log-in (or to use one that you already have for our site) with a name and email address before you may purchase an event registration. No information aside from the username and email address is required to create a profile, but you will need a billing address to complete registration.

FAIC's registration policies for professional development programs can be found here.

About the Workshop

Museums continue to struggle with best methods for illumination of collections. Although emerging technologies such as LEDs provide wonderful new tools for improved illumination, the flood of new technologies has created confusion about selecting appropriate lighting solutions. Although there has been increasing discussion and workshops on the subject of museum illumination and the use of new lighting technologies, it is essential to step back and master the underlying conceptual and cognitive principles that are important for achieving a high quality museum lighting experience. This workshop will provide attendees with the knowledge to make better decisions about implementing practical lighting solutions at their institutions, enhancing the visual experience while minimizing light-induced damage.

About the Instructors

  • Steven Weintraub is the founder and Principal of Art Preservation Services, a private practice conservation group. Steven holds an MA in Art History and an Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. He is currently working on a book about exhibit lighting.
  • Gordon Anson is the Deputy Chief of Design, Head of Exhibitions Production, and Chief Lighting Designer at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Gordon has over 37 years of experience in lighting design.

Scholarship Funding

FAIC/NEH Individual Professional Development Scholarships
With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, FAIC offers scholarships up to $1,000 to help defray professional development costs for individual members of AIC who are U.S. residents. Proposed projects are limited to expenses related to attending FAIC workshops supported by the NEH. Applications for funding due September 15.


Donate to FAICWithout support, the registration fee for this workshop would be $370. FAIC relies on your contributions to support these and its many other programs.

Funding for this program comes from a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and support from Lighting Services, Inc. Additional funding comes from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artist Works Endowment for Professional Development, which was created by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is supported by donations from members of the American Institute for Conservation and its friends. Courses are made possible with the assistance of many AIC members, but no AIC membership dues were used to create or present this course.
Contact: Sarah Saetren
FAIC Education Associate
(202) 661-8071

SACI Florence