- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - The Muskegon Museum of Art is embarking on a significant project to improve the lighting in five of its seven galleries.

The project, estimated at $230,000, involves installation of energy-saving LED lighting and replacement of control panels that are beginning to show their age, said Judith Hayner, executive director of the museum. Galleries getting new lighting all are in the original, 102-year-old wing of the museum, according to The Muskegon Chronicle (https://bit.ly/O52eNl ).

The project is unlikely to cause major disruptions in the galleries, though art may have to be removed for a day or two to install new track lighting fixtures, Hayner said. The goal is to complete the project by the end of September, though work will have to be scheduled around exhibitions that have already been planned.

“It’s not like we stop scheduling things we do here,” Hayner said.

Galleries to receive new lighting include the Marble Hall, the museum’s main entryway; the Bettye Clark Cannon Gallery; the Ernest and Marjorie Cooper Gallery; the Theodore and Joan Operhall Gallery; and the Thelma and Paul Wiener Gallery.

“The lighting in that end of the museum was actually installed in the early 1990s,” Hayner said. “It’s all dimmable controlled and that’s a good thing. But when you create that kind of lighting, it’s a little bit more complex.”

She said difficulties with a lighting control panel for one of the galleries signal the potential that others that are of the same age also will have trouble. Replacement of the control panels is the more complex aspect of the project, Hayner said.

Muskegon Public Schools, which owns and operates the museum, received a $67,500 grant from the Michigan Council on Art and Cultural Affairs to help pay for the lighting upgrades. The remaining money will come from a facilities fund created as part of the museum’s INSPIRE fundraising effort.

Hayner said the new LED lighting will reduce the museum’s energy consumption and costs. It also will not challenge the museum’s climate control system the way the current heat-producing incandescent bulbs do, she said.

The museum has been planning for the past several years to become independent of the school district, a separation expected to become final this June. The school district has owned and operated the museum since it was built in 1912 to house paintings purchased with a picture fund bequeathed by lumber baron Charles H. Hackley.

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