Sumerlee Industrial Museum
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Sumerlee Industrial Museum, Glasgow

This industrial heritage museum outside Glasgow lies at the heart of an industrial landscape that includes a mine, a railway, a canal and the remains of a iron smelting and production site. The large industrial sheds that house the collection were comprehensively refurbished to enhance the display and interpretation of the large and diverse collection.

LD&T were responsible for all display and effects lighting and liaised with the base-build consultants to ensure that the basic building lighting and control systems for this £5M project would be compatible with the design intent for the display lighting.

The centrepiece of the museum is a half-scale pig iron furnace with a cutaway to display the internal workings of the furnace. LD&T designed a multi-colour LED light show system controlled via DMX signals from a programmable controller linked to a mock-up furnace control panel that the public used to interact with the furnace. As the public wound wheels to add iron ore and coke or to add air or to remove slag the lighting display responded by showing the furnace heating up by not just changes in colour but by larger areas of the furnace heating up and the contents visibly churning more within the furnace. Once the process is complete another wheel is turned to empty the furnace. Now the content of the furnace is seen dropping and then flowing along an 11m long channel in the floor to a ‘pig bed’ where the ingots form. The lighting has been designed to show the hot molten iron flowing down the trough and then the trough slowly cooling from after it has passed. The show control interfaces with the lighting control system to fill a different number of ‘pigs’ depending on how well the user controlled the furnace.

Elsewhere mainly efficient metal-halide spots on high-level tracks are used to give soft or dramatic modelling to the industrial objects and displays in the main halls. In enclosed display pods more sensitive paper and fabric items are displayed under controlled lighting conditions.

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