As part of the museum’s continuous maintenance, a collaborative group was formed between the University of Oxford’s Estates Services team and the operational team at the museum in order to find an innovative and sustainable lighting solution for the gallery spaces that provided a better experience for the visitors and the behind the scenes maintenance teams.

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology is the world’s oldest public museum and one of Europe’s most popular cultural tourist destinations. It is home to Oxford University’s collection of art and archaeology and more than 850,000 people visit each year. Therefore the building needs constant care and attention to ensure it delivers the welcoming atmosphere upon which the Ashmolean prides itself and keeps up with the demands of visitors.

The installation of the dimmable Concord Beacon Muse LEDs with their longer lifespan will result in the museum now saving two man days a week, which were previously used to replace broken halogen lamps. The lamps are also easily moved along a track, dimmed and refocused to allow museum teams to change displays with ease. An added bonus is that the museum will now save £45,000 a year in reduced energy usage.

When it came to redesigning the lighting scheme the aesthetics and performance of the lighting was paramount said Harry Phythian-Adams, Executive Officer, Director’s Office at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. “We required a solution that provided the same lit effect as halogen but also delivered a better uniformity of light whilst bringing the vibrant colours in the galleries to life. Concord was able to adapt the Beacon Muse to meet our needs perfectly: it changed the colour temperature of the spotlight to 2700K warm white with colour rendering index of typical 97 and also provided us with a customised white bezel to better suit our interior décor.”

Phythian-Adams said the museum was also impressed with the energy savings it had seen. As a result of the unique design of the product, in addition to the LED energy savings compared to the previous Halogen lights, less heat is emitted and they have been able to reduce their air conditioning usage and save on energy costs.

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The project was funded jointly by the museum and by the Carbon Reduction Programme run by the Environmental Sustainability team at the university. As such, an important factor in the project was the carbon reduction potential. The new LEDs use less energy and produce less heat allowing the museum to reduce their mechanical air cooling. 236 tonnes of carbon will be saved every year and will count towards the university’s overall carbon reduction target of 33 per cent by 2020/21 on a 2005 baseline.

The project was instigated by Robert Gregg, Deputy Electrical Engineer, Estates Services for the University of Oxford, whilst the Ashmolean team worked with Concord to design the fittings, which were installed by Monard Electrical Oxford and commissioned by Ben Acton at Hoare Lea, Oxford.

Concord Beacon Muse spotlights are installed at a high level within the space and are positioned in such a way as to reveal the forms and details of the diverse collections. The spotlights use warm, high colour rendering LEDs, with the beam angle adjusted according to lit effect required by each exhibit.

Concord Beacon Muse features an adjustable optic system which can deliver a wide flood 65˚ beam angle which can be adjusted down to a 10˚ spot without the need for additional lenses or reflectors.

The 10˚ tight spot is ideal for accent lighting for accentuating the texture, colour and shape of exhibits. Its 65˚ wide flood distribution can be optimised for uniform vertical and horizontal illuminance and wall washing effects. Also, when used with an elongation lens accessory it can create narrow beam angles for highlighting sculptures, mannequins, logos and shelving.

Available in 2700K, 3000K & 4000K CCT with a high colour rendering index, Beacon Muse incorporates a discrete on board dimmer that provides control from 100 per cent right down to 0 per cent. There are also track dimming options and a choice of standard and high output models to suit any display or retail lighting application.

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