The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mead Art Museum at Amherst College undertaking several eco-friendly Initiatives
Up on a 12-foot ladder in the Mead's main gallery, Tim Gilfillan, the museum's preparator.

AMHERST, MASS.- Museums are in the business of conserving art. But what about conserving the world's energy and other natural resources? It turns out the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College is on top of that, too.

Up on a 12-foot ladder in the Mead's main gallery, Tim Gilfillan, the museum's preparator, is doing both: replacing halogen light bulbs with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that are more energy efficient but just as safe for the museum's collection.

All light is potentially damaging. That unavoidable fact was the premise of the symposium Gilfillan attended at the Smithsonian in Washington last March on the topic of LED lighting in museums. After years of research (LEDs have been around since the 1960s), most art curators and conservators these days agree that LED lighting is as innocuous - and just as high quality - as conventional lighting. Meanwhile, the cost of LED bulbs, once exorbitant, is now within reach of museums both large and small.

Since March, Gilfillan has replaced about 120 90-watt halogen bulbs in the Mead galleries with the same number of 12-watt LEDs, yielding the same brightness as before, while reducing energy use by 87%. There are still some 80 halogens in use at the moment, almost all in the galleries that feature works on paper, which require lower light levels and are the most vulnerable to light damage. Gilfillan said he's doing additional research into the best LED lighting for these fragile works. By spring of 2014 he imagines the changeover to LED lighting in all the galleries will be complete.

LEDs produce visually attractive light and accurately rendered color while saving energy. In tests conducted by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (according to a presenter at the symposium Gilfillan attended), museum visitors "did not prefer the look of traditional halogen lighting." In fact, in the galleries lit with LEDs, "staff and visitors noticed . . . the blues and greens were more vibrant, there was more depth to paintings, and frames visually popped more."

The decreased wattage at the Mead yields immediate savings for Amherst College. An added benefit is that LEDs generate less light-produced heat than conventional incandescent and halogen bulbs. Less heat means less work for the museum's air conditioning, and less air conditioning means an even lower electric bill. LEDs also last a lot longer than conventional bulbs, so the Mead ultimately buys fewer-which saves money and generates less waste - and Gilfillan spends less time replacing them.

All museums are high energy users because of the need to provide stable humidity and temperature levels around the clock for conservation purposes. But rather than let Amherst's art collection enjoy all the benefits of a comfortable, controlled environment night and day by itself, the Mead - in a move that's unusual for any museum, let alone a college museum - opens its doors to visitors nearly 80 hours per week during the academic year. That's more than double the number of hours most museums are open. It's a better use of resources, said Mead director Dr. Elizabeth E. Barker, to welcome the public into a museum that's by necessity warmed all winter and cooled all summer.

Paint is another environmental issue museums grapple with. Not the paint on Monet's Morning on the Seine, which has been dry for well over a hundred years, but the fresh paint on the wall behind the masterpiece.

Before new exhibitions open at the Mead, the galleries are often given fresh coats of paint. Until recently, most of that paint contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that were released into the air. The fumes hung around not just the day the paint was applied, but long after, which can lead to the formation of ozone and air pollution linked to breathing problems, nausea, and headaches. Nowadays, Gilfillan said, it's easy to obtain paint that contains either no VOCs or low amounts. The Mead's paint qualifies as low-VOC (under 50 g/L for flat paint), which keeps the air in the galleries fresh, clean, and healthy.

Other eco-friendly practices at the Mead include motion-sensitive light sensors in the lobby and public restrooms, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in the café, assiduous recycling of light bulbs and batteries, and reuse of exhibition materials and shipping crates. "I love recycling," said Gilfillan, an inveterate reuser of mat-board scraps and packing material, including bubble wrap. He also routinely reuses exhibition furniture, such as pedestals and display cases. And the packing crates that many works of art are cushioned in when they arrive at the Mead? They're now repurposed at Book & Plow, the farm that leases land on the Amherst College campus and supplies Valentine Dining Hall, as well as the larger Five College community, with fresh produce. Farmer Peter McLean can repurpose the Mead's leftover wooden crates for "any number of projects," he said, including "fixing or building another chicken coop or pig house, framing a door inside our greenhouse, and building shelving in the greenhouse, sheds, or barn."

Green initiatives are also at work in the Mead's lobby, which features a café, bookstore, and gift shop. Unlike a typical museum shop that sells mass-produced merchandise made and shipped from thousands of miles away, items in the Mead Vintage section of the shop are classic objets d'art that local volunteers discover and refurbish as needed. It's the only museum shop of its kind, said Barker, selling vintage goods. Vintage frames that newly acquired Mead artworks may have come to the museum in, but which are not quite museum quality, are also sold in the shop. And the Mead donates many more such frames to Amherst College art students.

The book section of the shop sells recently published Mead catalogues that are printed by a Connecticut-based company certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. And the coffee in the Mead Café - served in biodegradable cups made from renewable resources - is made from Dean's Beans, a roaster whose beans are grown in accordance with international safe-practice standards that protect farmers and their environment. Dean's Beans roasts the beans in Orange, Massachusetts, about 22 miles from Amherst. In the new year, the café will even begin composting.

So what's Gilfillan doing with all the time and energy the new LED bulbs are saving him? Turns out he's busy as ever, preparing for the Mead's upcoming show, New Arrivals, which opens Feb. 14, 2014. Stop by, and see how green the Mead is for yourself.

Today's News

December 19, 2013

Newly restored "The Lady and the Unicorn" tapestries presented at Musée de Cluny

American Jeffrey Gonano wins $1million Pablo Picasso painting for just $135 in online tombola

Henri Matisse's Christmas window to star in Tate Modern's landmark show opening on 17 April 2014

Soviet Art Soviet Sport: Sotheby's London opens a pioneering exhibition of Soviet art

I'll Be Your Mirror: Stephen Haller Gallery presents 21 photographs by Kate O'Donovan Cook

Christie's London set to tantalise tastebuds with epicurean auction in January

Smithsonian American Art Museum acquires video games: “Flower” and “Halo 2600”

Esteemed Pray Collection to headline RM Auctions' 16th Annual Amelia Island Sale

Hermes Kelly bag brings world record $125,000 in $3.8 million luxury accessories event at Heritage Auctions

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1's Expo 1 exhibition travels to Brazil

Canon Europe and Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum enter into three-year partnership

Mead Art Museum at Amherst College undertaking several eco-friendly Initiatives

Once-stolen Stradivarius sold for £1.3 million by fine instrument auction house Tarisio

Gold rush at Bonhams Coins Sale in New York

Fine art auction startup Auctionata reports $20.65 million in revenue for 2013

Cleveland Museum of Art celebrates significant accomplishments

"Orit Raff: Priming" opens at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

John W. Coker auction features early Southern folk art and collection of antique Indian baskets

Bidding soars for painting by Trayvon Martin shooter

$500 1882 gold certificate may bring $2 million at Heritage Auctions' FUN Currency Signature Event

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful