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Gallery-Worthy LED Illuminates Woodson Art Museum

The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, has been committed to enhancing lives through art and educational programs since its founding four decades ago by three sisters and families who dreamed of honoring their mother and her collections.

As an art-in-nature-focused museum that is certified “Travel Green” by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, the Woodson also strives to be a model of sustainability. Its flagship exhibition is the internationally renowned Birds in Art, a juried exhibition that each fall comprises fresh interpretations in various styles by artists from around the world.

The Expectation

The Woodson recently constructed a new gallery to accommodate a permanent collection of 43 paintings by Owen J. Gromme—considered the “father of Birds in Art” and guest curator of the museum's inaugural exhibition in 1976. Deepening its commitment to environmental stewardship, the Woodson decided to invest in energy-efficient LED lighting solutions versus traditional halogen lamps.

Our Solution

Working with Specialty Lighting Sales of Wisconsin, Inc. (Milwaukee, Wis.), the museum tested a variety of bulbs and fixtures, eventually ordering GE's Infusion LED modules installed in Journée Lighting's Zinnia 1000i track lights because of superior aesthetics and functionality.  GE's Infusion LED lighting maintains consistent color quality from module to module and is available in a wide range of lumen packages to meet various lighting needs.

“What was critical for us as an art museum was the evenness of the color,” said Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions at the Woodson Art Museum. “We needed a light with a high CRI (Color Rendering Index) to provide even and consistent color distribution throughout the gallery.”

Results & Benefits

Utilizing GE's Infusion LED module instead of the traditional 50-watt halogen MR16 lamps saves the Woodson approximately 30 watts of energy per fixture as well as lowers the cooling load of its HVAC system, contributing to both direct and indirect energy savings.  Additionally, GE's Infusion modules' twist-fit installation combined with a common base design reduces the Woodson's operational costs. Instead of replacing an entire LED light fixture at the end of its life, the module can simply be replaced to minimize environmental waste.  With interchangeable modules, GE's Infusion products deliver game-changing technology to the market. As lighting needs change, it is quick and easy to adapt by removing the entire LED module and upgrading in seconds.  “The flexibility of the Infusion system is among the reasons we chose it,” said McGivern. “It sets us up to adapt to new lighting technologies down the road by allowing us to easily switch out the modules.”  GE's Infusion™ LED modules also paint the artworks on view in crisp, white light.

“Although we were skeptical at first of LED lighting solutions because of initial cost, we're now so pleased with the color and the clean, white light in our new gallery that we're looking to retrofit all of the galleries with LED,” said McGivern. “Compared to our old halogen lamps, the LED lights have a softer edge; when you step from a traditionally lit gallery to our new gallery, the new museum lighting creates a completely different atmosphere and a fresh appearance for visitors.”