Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
ARC 805
APRIL 2008
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Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
The museum as an institution helps greatly in preserving and transmitting the
cultural heritage of the people. According to Robert (1992), museum is defined as an
institution that collects, studies, exhibits and conserves objects for cultural and
educational purposes.
The international council of museums (1984) defined museum as a permanent
establishment administrating in the public interest with a view to conserve, study, exploit
by various means and basically, to exhibit for the pleasure and education of the public,
objects of cultural value; a place where people research for instructive recreation.
Every human society has its particular culture or socio cultural system that
overlaps, to some extent with other systems. Culture consists of language, customs,
taboos, tradition, beliefs, ideas, institutions, works of art and other related components.
The development of culture depends on man's capacity to learn to pass or transmit
knowledge to future or succeeding generations.
Nigeria with over 250 spoken languages and cultures, some of the 250 ethnic
groups have such as the Yorubas in Ile-Ife, and Owo; the Edos of Benin, the Ibos of
Igbo-Ukwu, the Nupe, etc; these people have civilizations that have existed for
thousands of years which are evident in the terracotta, bronze and stone works. These
civilization of culture were the NOK (500BC.-200A.D) of Jos, plateau state, the IgboUkwu (9th- 10th century) of Enugu state, Ife (12th-15th century) of Ile-Ife, Osun state;
amongst others. Nigeria can thus be said to be rich in cultural values from the diverse
ethnic groups, which knowledge needs to be preserved and transmitted to generations
as well integrated with one another, to serve and promote the unity of the diverse
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Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
cultural and ethnic groups in Nigeria.
According to Robert (1992), though museums are primarily western in origin, the
concept behind museums has long been evident in other cultures. This can be seen in
the Cross River region of West Africa for instance, where certain masks were given to a
tribal elder or other responsible person for safe keeping or in Benin art where certain art
works are made, conserved and exhibited in the Oba's palace .
Ellen (2003) stated that, museums evolve architecturally, from temple like
treasure houses, of the 19th and early 20th centuries, into center for education and
recreation, dedicated for helping people understand and appreciate the natural world
and beliefs, customs and cultures around them. The histories of civilization, the records
of humanity's artistic, scientific and technological achievements are as well appreciated
through their collections in the museums. They are cared for, study, interpret and exhibit
them for the purpose of public education and the advancement of knowledge.
Function of the Museums:
The main functions of the museum are:
a. Collection or acquisition of materials.
This is the acquisition of material evidence of a man and his environment. Most
museum get objects in their collections through gifts, some have budget earmarked for
acquiring new objects or artifacts through archeological fieldwork sponsored by
museum. Some Museums also lend objects to other museum for a specified period.
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Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
b. Conservation.
An activity that preserves the museum collection for present and future used are
known as conservation. This includes periodic examinations, document their conditions
and if necessary treat and restore them to their formal conditions.
c. Documentation.
Recording and maintaining complete and accurate information about the artifacts in
a collection is an essential function of the museum. These includes ownership history,
creation date or time period, description of object conditions and related publications
and identification names.
d. Exhibition
This is a display that in corporate objects and information to explain concept,
stimulate understanding, relate experience, write participation prompt reflection or
inspire wonder.
e. Educational service.
Through their collections, exhibition, public programs, publications and public
relations activities, scholarly activities and other programs, museums stimulate a
spontaneous , individualized form of leaving a life long educational process.
f. Research.
Museum collections offer cultural and scientific treasures for researchers, scholars,
and specialist. The research use of a collection is an important aspect of a museum
responsibility to expand knowledge and increase understanding.
Apart from the main functions other functions of the museum are that the Museum
offer many benefits to their visitors, their communities, and society as a whole. As
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Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
educational institutions, they offered unparallel opportunities for self directed learning
and exploration by people of diverse ages, interests, backgrounds and abilities. They
are public gathering places where visitors can be entertained, inspired, and introduced
to new ideas.
They enrich local cultural life, and make communities more appealing places to
live and to visit. For a society as a whole, they provide valuable intangible benefits as
sources of national, regional, and local identity. They have the singular capacity to
reflect both continuity and change, to present and protect cultural and natural heritage,
while vividly illustrating the progression of the human imagination, socio-cultural and
natural world.
Thus, the problems of exhibitions and conservation have widened to encompass
such social and economic aspects such as security, illumination of the museum, public
relations, and management in general.
Museum design must attach great importance to the flexibility of spaces,
circulation, availability of sophisticated climactic control of the interiors, and the use of
both natural and artificial lighting facilities to create varied effects and to preserve the
quality of the collections.
Illumination in museums
In order to develop a successful illumination for display, many conflicting design
requirement must be satisfied. The primary concern is the effective illumination of
displays and as well as the visual comfort of the users and visitors. Dramatic variations
in light level from exhibit to exhibit, or from exterior to interior, can affect a visitor’s ability
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Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
to appreciate the collections on display because the eyes require several minutes to
adjust to large changes in light levels; there must be a transition from the exterior to the
interior for the eye to adapt to light. In other to enhance effective lighting in the interior,
natural light must be integrated with electric lighting as direct sunlight can be damaging
to the collections exhibited. To achieve this, the following issues must be considered:
Is the combination of natural light and electrical light enough to make it
Is the intensity of the light too great to affect the collection on display?
Does the adding of an element natural light affect the quality or purity of
the collections.
Does the quality of the light have an affect on the comfort of the users?
The quality of the integrated light is enhanced and the intensity can be controlled
through the use of structure devices, materials and colours. The combination of natural
and artificial lighting source creates a quality of light that positively affects the
atmosphere of the museum, the clarity or vividness of colour of the collections exhibited
and on the experience of the users and visitors of the museum.
All radiations if any material absorbs it cause a rise in temperature. Deterioration
needs energy; either light or heat, light is much more potent than heat in the museum.
All textiles are subject to damage by light, as are many of the colours used in
miniatures, watercolour and art on paper. Natural history specimens are also sensitive,
oil paintings change more slowly, but in important ways. The paint medium whether oil,
egg, gum or glue is certainly damaged by light, but the extent of damage is difficult to
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Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
The aim of this thesis is the design of a structure which is functional and
aesthetically pleasing, which reflect the importance attach to a museum as a national
edifice and its place in the unity of the various and diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria as
well as a place for instructive recreation.
Emphasis is laid on the use of lighting or illumination in the preservation of the
collections or artifacts and in creation of varied effects making the interior a place of
This is to be achieved through the following objectives:
effective arrangement of exhibition and circulation spaces to enhance proper
To conduct a research on the activities that goes on in a museum in order to
design to suit.
To design a structure that will provide for the orientation, direction, circulation,
and to enhance effective climatic and security control.
To create a serene environment will the use of various illumination within the
to create a form that will be aesthetically be pleasing and reflect the importance
of the museum as a national monument dedicated to the unity in Nigeria’s ethnic
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Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
The museum is a place where the cultural heritage of a nation can be seen, and
with all the function it performs that is education, exhibition, conservation, and the
acquiring of new materials; it is of great importance since it boosts the economy of the
nation through tourism.
In most part of the world, museums are usually found in metropolitan cities where
there are a lot people coming for different purposes. The new Federal Capital Territory
(F.C.T.) at Abuja is one of such city, though there is a facility provided for this purpose
in the area, there is a need to improve the quality of such the place by designing a world
class standard museum with emphasis on the unity of Nigeria and therefore, the need
for the for such project of national importance. A lack of consideration for the visitors
can potentially handicap the individuals’ ability to view and appreciate exhibits or
In the course of this research work, the methodology that would be used in gathering
relevant data includes:
literature review; relevant data obtained by literature review from books, journals,
magazines, publications relating to museum in general and requirement for museum
Conducting interviews on the field in the course of the case studies.
Visitation to existing museums for case studies in Nigeria, noting their general
planning, layout, massing and presentations and also sourcing for some foreign
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Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
museum to be used as case studies through books and internet.
Personal interaction with professionals and relevant authorities to get materials
for the relevant to the project.
the findings and information thus gathered from the literature review and field studies
that will form the background knowledge and aid both primary and secondary data
gathering that is needed for this research and for the design proposal.
The targeted users are the general public that is Nigerians no matter the ethnic
group, age, profession and background. This includes school children on excursion,
families on vacation, scholars, researchers, every Nigerian despite their background or
level of education. The theme of the museum is unity therefore both Nigerians and
foreigners are targeted.
The study will dwell on the design of a exquisite museum with emphasis on effective
illumination of the interior of the museum that will include:
a. Administrative sections which will include: curator office, reception, secretary,
clericals’ office, boardroom, principle curator, account office, studio, amongst
b. Research, training and technical units which will include: laboratory, classrooms,
research officers’ offices, education officers’ office, ethnography room, chief
archeologist, conservation officers’ office, exhibit rooms, director of training
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Research proposal: national museum Abuja (effective illumination in museums)
office, export permit, security posts, etc.
c. Exhibition unit which includes: history and archeology gallery, war museum
gallery, art and craft gallery, children’s museum gallery, gallery attendant offices,
ethnographic gallery, etc.
d. Auditorium which will include: stage area, changing rooms, back stage
conveniences, audience area, etc.
e. Audio- visual section: audio- visual offices, equipment room, records, etc.
f. Library department: these would include archives, general reading, chief
g. Security sections
h. Photographic section.
Museum eatery, art and craft centre and souvenirs shops.
Three months is the required time needed by the researcher to carry out the
research to completion.
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