Yale University Art Gallery Relit with LEDs

In December 2012, following a US $135 million renovation that united three disparate buildings into one seamless museum, the Yale University Art Gallery opened to the public. Steven Hefferan of Hefferan Partnership Lighting Design (Boulder, Colo.) managed the lighting for 70,000 square feet of gallery space, and the illumination for more than 4,000 works of art in the galleries.

Yale University Art Gallery after LED upgrade. (All photos courtesy of Xicato)

To facilitate the switch from incumbent halogen lighting, Hefferan needed to educate the curators, conservators and staff from Yale’s different departments on the aspects of LEDs, including the specifics of color temperature and color rendering. For museums and galleries, quality of light and the experience of viewing the artwork are paramount. Hefferan teamed with luminaire manufacturer Lighting Services Inc, (LSI) ─ using Xicato's Artist Series™ modules ─ to light the artwork in the gallery settings in a variety of ways, allowing the staff to experience firsthand the various LED lamp types. He was able to demonstrate how LED lighting displays truer colors, especially for reds and blues. As a result, the Yale departments chose to move in the direction of LEDs with color temperature of 3000K.

With almost a year allotted to install the galleries and select luminaires before the grand opening, the project greatly benefited from not having to specify exact track-mounted fixtures before the construction. This enabled Hefferan to choose from the latest in LED technology, which he was able to do by employing LSI’s luminaires equipped with Xicato’s Artist Series modules for the gallery’s tracklighting applications. Ultimately, Hefferan and the museum staff adopted a hybrid approach, combining the use of 20W MR16 halogen lights and 25W LEDs. LSI provided its museum-grade tracklighting systems – surface, pendant and flangeless profiles – with 2044 series LED (25W, 3000K) and CX16 series 20W MR16 halogen. Xicato’s Artist Series LED modules were used in LSI’s gallery tracklighting luminaires throughout the installation to illuminate the artwork.

Application Name

Yale University Art Gallery

Country / Location

New Haven, United States

Application Type

Museums and galleries

Luminaire Name

LumeLEX 2044

Xicato Product Used

XSM LED Module

Light Type

Artist Series

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