Behind the Scenes

Sound: Let There Be (Some) Light

The next time you’re in the Getty Center galleries, look up. The large louvers in the ceiling are working throughout the day to keep light-sensitive artwork from direct sunlight.

The goal is to keep the amount of light coming in to around 20 to 25 footcandles. (One footcandle = the amount of light put out by a candle at a one-foot distance.)

These large blinds run on a motor similar to the one that operates the flaps on an aircraft. They shift about three to ten degrees every hour throughout the day.

While glass keeps the sound to a faint muffle in the galleries, you can hear it in all its glory here:

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      Plate, about 1740-1760, Moustiers Manufactories. J. Paul Getty Museum.

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