Project Spotlight: The LSC Great Train Set Exhibit

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The LSC Great Train Set Exhibit is a testament to the passion of its original owner, John Scully, and the creative problem-solving of its curators and The Lighting Practice team. Scully’s donation of his beloved train collection, inspired by his upbringing near Cranberry Lake in NJ, set the stage for a captivating story of the historical Lackawanna Train line.

Originally built in the owner’s basement, adapting the exhibit to fit in the gallery posed a challenge, as it had to be reconfigured differently than the original installment. Additionally, budget and time constraints resulted in limited luminaire sourcing options. TLP creatively re-used many of the existing exhibit fixtures and adapted them to the needs of the installation by modifying the track lights with louvers and gel filters, enabling control over light direction, glare and color.

A major component of the original installation was a sophisticated lighting scene which simulated a day’s cycle, complete with thunderstorms, rainbows, and a starry night sky, all reflecting elements of Scully’s childhood memories. Because of budget, time and sourcing constraints, the design team devised creative solutions using both the existing fixtures and those sourced from online retailers, to recreate the day-to-night scenes facilitated by a DMX-based control system that seamlessly transitions between preset scenes. TLP also installed a custom-designed fiber optic night sky to recreate the original starry sky effect that was integral to the original installation.

The lighting design of the exhibit not only illuminates the train set but also enhances the architectural environment with innovative techniques. Spotlights embedded in reader rails offer targeted illumination, guiding visitors through the exhibit. Integrated toe kick lighting beneath the table ensures safe navigation while maintaining an immersive atmosphere. By strategically highlighting different elements, visitors are encouraged to explore and discover new details with each visit to the exhibit.