Museum | Gallery Layouts
Museums are cultural institutions that house and display collections of artifacts with artistic, historical, cultural, or scientific significance for public viewing. Though there are hundreds of thousands of museums across the world showcasing a vast range of subjects, museum layouts generally cater to the same programmatic elements: a lobby or reception area, gift shops, galleries, archives, and staff offices. Additionally, museums often have small cafes or restaurants, lecture halls or great halls, and outdoor landscaping features, such as a courtyard or rooftop garden. When arranging the layout of these spaces, the most critical consideration that will ultimately determine a museum’s success is the clarity with which accessibility and circulation is defined for the visitors.
A museum exhibit should be designed first by knowing the story and the target audience. The layout of an exhibition can and should encourage intimacy with each piece. A museum exhibit should create a full immersion or experience, input a level of interaction and learning, create a flow or desired walk through, and use graphic design to indicate and engage.
When considering museum design, protection of the pieces on display are of utmost importance. With this comes the safety of visitors and avoidance of noise, shuffling, and overcrowding. Use and layout of partitions, rooms, and pedestals should also be carefully considered.
Ideal lighting is dependent on the type of artwork being displayed. However, LED track lighting is most commonly used in a gallery. The track should be mounted parallel to the wall with the lights typically positioned at a 30 degree angle to the piece of artwork. Depending on the height of the gallery, the track can be placed anywhere from two to four feet from the wall with the light fixtures at a similar distance between each other.