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UV protection for historical buildings & museums

Westgate Solar Control provide UV Protection solutions to historical buildings and museums to help protect valuable artefacts against the impacts of UV rays and natural light, plus shade customers and staff from heat and glare.

Did you know that solar energy accounts for 90% of fading? This is caused by three main wave bands*…

  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation: wavelengths shorter than 400nm (nm = nanometre) and invisible to the human eye. UV radiation is the most damaging form of light to museum collections.
  • Visible light: this is the spectrum of light, between 400 and 760nm, that humans can see, separated into the different colours of the rainbow.
  • Infrared radiation: Humans also can’t see infrared, which is anything longer than 760nm, but they can feel it as heat.

Internal lighting also plays a part in the long term fading of items. The intensity of visible light is measured in lux (1 lux = 1 lumen per square metre). Lighting a museum well depends on ensuring the right kind of lux levels, especially for more sensitive objects. You only need 50 lux to be able to see the shape and colour of an item, so there’d be no need to exceed that for the most valuable items.

The following guidelines indicate the sensitivity of different materials and their appropriate light levels:*

Very sensitive (50 lux)

  • Costumes and other textiles
  • Fur and feathers
  • Dyed leather
  • Prints
  • Drawings
  • Watercolours
  • Stamps
  • Manuscripts
  • Coloured and old photographs
  • Miniatures
  • Transparencies
  • Unprimed thinly coloured paintings on canvas

Moderately sensitive (200 lux)

  • Oil and tempera paintings
  • Lacquer ware
  • Plastics
  • Wood
  • Furniture
  • Horn
  • Bone
  • Ivory
  • Undyed leather
  • Minerals
  • Modern black and white photographs

Insensitive (300 lux)

  • Stone
  • Ceramic
  • Metal
  • Glass

Once light levels for your exhibits have been established, it is important to control both daylight and artificial light to ensure consistency of light intensity.

Installing Westgate’s triple layer film can dramatically decrease fading caused by natural light and provide added UV protection for historical buildings and museums. The triple layer UV protection is superior to any other UV window film and cuts out 99.9% of UV light.

The great thing about UV Protection film is that clarity is not compromised when installed. It won’t be visible to you or your visitors, therefore you can still maximise the natural daylight and reduce the amount of light required from bulbs.

If customers and staff are also suffering from glare issues, we can recommend a range of film or blind solutions that will maintain the aesthetics of the building but dramatically reduce the effects of glare.

Some of the benefits of working with Westgate Solar Control are:

  • Our products have been used in many historical buildings and museums: clients include National Trust, The National Gallery and the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.
  • Professional installation from a team of trusted and longstanding UK installers
  • Proposals, recommendations and even bespoke products that take into account the existing aesthetics of the building
  • Up to 10 year guarantee on products

*Source: www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk

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