History for All — The Museum of the American Revolution Opens in Philadelphia



24 August 2017, NEW YORK NY – Available Light is proud to have been part of the creative team for the newly opened Museum of the American Revolution (MOAR) in Philadelphia PA.

The Museum’s 16,000 square feet is home to hundreds of chronologically arranged artifacts exposing visitors to the entirety of the history of the Revolution. All displayed dioramas and environments are based on real people and events pulled from decades of research on the cultural and social implications of the War. Artifacts include correspondence from George Washington’s library, the newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence, continental currency, and George Washington’s silver camp cups. Not merely a celebration of the work of the Founding Fathers, the Museum’s collection includes stories from the Oneida nation, enslaved Africans, and others not typically discussed in the history books. A full gallery of Oneida nation figures tells their history of the Revolution with a multi-media video, light, and sound show.


Throughout, Available Light’s lighting design demanded technical attention to detail and a keen sensitivity to issues of artifact conservation. To minimize light exposure, many exhibits incorporate motion sensors that activate lighting only when a visitor is present. Programmable LED fixtures, integrated into the cases, allow for dynamic object theaters. Large artifact cases employed DMX controls ensuring lighting levels were balanced between assorted artifacts with various conservation requirements. In a contemporary exhibit presentation, the artifacts are surrounded by full-walled graphics, multi-media presentations, and immersive environments. A full-size replica of the Liberty Tree is theatrically lit to place visitors in the spot where Revolutionary masterminds met and British tyrants were hung.


The highlight of the Museum is a light, media, and sound show focused around George Washington’s actual tent — dubbed the first oval office. This extremely fragile, 250-year-old

artifact required strict guardianship over light exposure. Extensive calculations were prepared computing total light level exposure over the course of the theatrical presentation proving that total light exposure did not exceed curator-mandated limits. A sophisticated show control system assures that lighting, media projection, audio, and automated moving screens & curtains all work in perfect sync to deliver a seamless production that delights all who visit the highly calibrated auditorium. Available Light programmed an intricate show where dramatic lighting represented the passage of both the seasons and times of day.

“MOAR has already become a signature Available Light work,” says Ted Mather, LC, IALD, Managing Principal of the New York Studio and MOAR Lead Designer, “It not only showcases our signature theatrical immersion exhibition lighting, but also our extensive technical abilities. The team collaborators worked carefully and methodically to create a lighting environment throughout that both respects the collection and dazzles visitors.”


About Available Light

Available Light is an innovative, award-winning Lighting Design firm specializing in the fields of Museum Exhibition, Architecture, and Tradeshows & Special Events. Our comprehensive services address the full design process from master-planning to specification to final lighting tune-up. Delivering sustainable solutions for compelling, high-performance environments is central to our mission.


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