The gallery tells the story of the people who lived around Stonehenge. They spent most of their time outside surrounded by hills and woods and lit by daylight. Mark Sutton Vane decided to reverse the normal museum hierarchy and have brightly lit super graphics all around the gallery and low contrast lighting, like daylight, for the exhibits. This decision was the basis of the lighting design for the whole gallery.

Where track mounted spots had to be used they were set into recesses in the ceiling to reduce their visual impact, in long views they almost disappear.

The important Roman mosaic is lit with daylight, just as it was in Roman times. The opening around the skylight is emphasised with a square of linear lights.

Some artefacts in the cases are lit to make deliberate shadows that duplicate the shapes and make them look more exciting. When a visitor opens a drawer beneath a case, this turns on hidden lighting in the drawer.

The gallery feels like a day lit open air space even though it complies with all the complex conservation requirements of a modern museum gallery.

About the lighting: “It looks fantastic”

Adrian Green, Director,

Salisbury Museum.


Exhibition Designer and Architects: Metaphor

M&E Engineer: Chris Reading & Associates

Contractor: Realm Projects