Guideline 17.4

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Guideline 17.4: The exhibit’s electrical wiring and fixtures do not compromise object safety

What precautions should be taken to ensure electrical fixtures, lighting, and wiring will not pose a fire hazard?

The museum must ensure that new wiring is installed correctly and consider reinstalling old wiring that might not be up to code. The following precautions must be taken:

  • All exhibit lighting, electrical fixtures, and wiring must comply with the National Electrical Code for both personnel safety and fire prevention. Unless the museum has adopted a particular edition, the exhibition designer should follow the latest edition. For detailed guidance see the National Fire Protection Association publication NAPA 909, Recommended Practice for the Protection of Museums and Museum Collections.


  • Avoid any unnecessary wiring in display areas. Keep electrical wiring to the minimum possible and do not run wiring through the exhibit area if it is not required for exhibit needs.


  • Avoid electrical services within shelves inside exhibit enclosures.


  • Utilize a qualified electrical inspector to assess the electrical installation. Follow safe electrical inspection procedures and safe use of voltmeters, multimeters, and similar electrical test equipment.