Guideline 15.2

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The following Standards and Guidelines are a work in progress intended to spur discussion between exhibit personnel, conservators and other museum professionals. Please check back in the future as information is added to expand on the Guidelines without currently active links.
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Guideline 15.2: The exhibit design excludes sunlight

Why is it important to exclude sunlight from the exhibit space?

All light sources produce some amount of visible light, Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and Infrared (IR) radiation, but sunlight is particularly dangerous because it includes high levels of all three. Direct sunlight should never fall on light-sensitive objects.

In addition, daylight in an exhibit space provides light of inconsistent quality and quantity, changing with the time of day, season, and weather conditions. The complete elimination or tight control of sunlight not only serves a preservation function, it is also easier on the viewer.

What methods can be used to exclude sunlight from the exhibit space?

The most dependable way to exclude sunlight is to block any windows or skylights in the exhibit space.

However, when daylight is necessary to create a desired effect (e.g. historical accuracy in a historic room) or when it is not possible to block out daylight, then mitigate or control its effects:

  • Eliminate UV light by covering windows with glazing and films that contain UV filters. (For more information on eliminating UV light see Guideline*.)
  • Use curtains, shades, shutters, and light-filtering blinds to block windows when sunlight is entering the exhibit space.
  • Use exhibit panels to control sunlight
  • Redirect natural light entering the space from an atrium or adjacent area [Needs further explanation]
  • In those particular spaces, objects less susceptible to light damage should be chosen for exhibition.