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Chester County Press

Brandywine River Museum of Art to install new lighting in 2016

01/04/2016 02:20PM ● By J. Chambless

The galleries at the Brandywine River Museum of Art will have a new look after the lighting system is updated this winter.

Visitors to the Brandywine River Museum of Art will experience its collection of American art and special exhibitions in a whole new light, starting in 2016, thanks to a $1 million grant from Crystal Trust.

A new tracked lighting system with energy-efficient LED fixtures will be installed in all of the museum's six galleries. The grant will also fund related projects intended to improve the visitor experience.

“The installation of state-of-the-art lighting in all of the museum's galleries will transform our visitors' experience of the Brandywine,” said Thomas Padon, director of the Brandywine River Museum of Art. “Light is a key factor in creating an atmosphere in the museum that is both welcoming and provides optimal viewing of works of art.”

Padon added that the new system will allow for greater flexibility in lighting the variety of art within the museum's galleries, ranging from its iconic paintings created by the Wyeth family of artists to fragile works on paper by Winslow Homer.

The new LED lighting has a significantly whiter cast of light. “It's like seeing some of these paintings for the first time,” Padon said. “The LED lights afford better rendition of color, so visitors can truly appreciate the subtlety and range of tones in each work of art. The lights will also consume substantially less energy, giving the museum a smaller carbon footprint. We are deeply grateful to Crystal Trust for funding this transformative project and for the trust's ongoing commitment and generosity to the museum.”

Project work will take place from Jan. 4 through mid-March, 2016. The museum will be open. While the project will require occasional gallery closures, the Brandywine's best-known paintings by N.C. Wyeth, including his illustration for “Treasure Island,” as well as iconic works by Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth, will be on continuous view. A full slate of educational programs, including the Read-Aloud program for young children in February and March, will be presented.

For this project, the Brandywine will be working with Litelab, an internationally renowned lighting manufacturer whose clients include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Harvard University Art Museums and the Pace gallery in Beijing; Wohlsen Construction, the general contractor; and GWWO Architectural Sources of Baltimore, the firm that designed the original building in 1971, as well as its subsequent additions.

In addition, the museum's lecture room will be renovated with funds from Crystal Trust. Located on the ground floor, the lecture room is the Brandywine's largest gathering space. Seating up to 180, it is used for art education, from intimate conversations with artists to hands-on activities for dozens of children, as well as for Conservancy programs, including public meetings and programs about environmental topics. State-of-the-art audio visual equipment will be installed, providing a better visitor experience.

With this grant funding, Brandywine will also create a new audio tour system. Visitors will be able to obtain educational content and educational materials with their own cellphones and tablets through a mobile web platform. Devices will be available for visitors who do not have, or do not wish to use, their own.

The museum is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During the lighting project, admission will be $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $4 for students. For more information, call 610-388-2700 or visit


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