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New Lighting System


The Lac qui Parle County Historical Society/Museum recently received a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society’s Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant Program for $79,700 to replace the existing lighting system in the museum display area.  The project focuses on reducing deterioration on artifacts, reducing energy consumption, improving color rendition of objects on exhibits and increasing visibility directed to spots or areas where needed.

Writing grants has certainly been a learning experience for our curator, Barb Redepenning. She has completed 12 previous grants for the museum, of which 10 were awarded, totaling over $30,000, and she is the process of working on two more. The application process for some of these grants is long and very competitive but well worth the hard work. Writing grants for the Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant Program is highly competitive and very detailed. Once the grant is completed it goes to the review with hundreds of other grants. After two long months of review, the Minnesota Historical Society’s board announces the winners.

Some of the other grants we have received from the this program are the microfilm reader and computer, microfilm from all of the Lac qui Parle county newspapers (some dating back to 1880’s), the PastPerfect computer program and laptop to do inventory, a new video security system and a collection of library books about the history of Minnesota and Lac qui Parle. Barb has also written grants to the Dawson Community Foundation and the Madison Community Foundation and received funds to purchase binders and protective sheets for the military story collection, funds to update our county school book and recently received funds to compile the history of town schools in to one album. 

Outdated lighting system in the main hall

Outdated lighting system in the main hall

We started working on the lighting project over a year ago. First, a grant was submitted to have an assessment done on the entire museum, including  the existing lighting system.  Elisa Redman, Associate Director of Preservation Services with the Midwest Art Conservation Center in Minneapolis, spent two days in the museum assessing everything inside and out. Then the lighting system was further assessed by  lighting expert Richard Rummel, who works with the Minnesota Historical Society. Both assessments found the existing lighting system in the museum to be unacceptable. The present system was not designed for a museum, it is highly variable in type and intensity. In some areas the light levels were dangerously high for collection materials.



Spot lights can cause deterioration of collection items.

Spot lights can cause deterioration of collection items.

They both recommended a new uniform lighting system that would reduce and even out the irregular light levels, be aesthetically pleasing, and significantly reduce energy output. Our current lighting load is 21,620 watts of electricity and the new lighting load will be reduced to 3,960 watts, a savings of over 81%.

The lighting system that will be installed was designed by Richard Rummel, consisting of of 120 Lumelex LED lights that will light the displays and 40 Gemini uplight florescent lights that will show the unique architecture in the museum.  LED lights have a life of 25,000 to 50,000 hours, saving cost of replacement bulbs and the labor to install them.

 The work on the lighting system will begin this month.




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