New lights to help preserve history

Museum officials say a new, improved lighting system will help artifacts stand the test of time.

The Catawba County Historical Association recently installed high-tech LED lighting in the main hallway and three gallery rooms at the Catawba County Museum of History in Newton.

The system was funded by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act energy-efficiency grant of $15,000 awarded to the city of Newton earlier this year.

The funds paid for LED ceiling lights that better illuminate and preserve historical artifacts, said Melinda Herzog, executive director of the Catawba County Historical Association.

“Fluorescent lights are extremely damaging to artifacts over time,” Herzog said, adding that fluorescent lighting emits high-levels of UV rays that are harmful to the artifacts.

New LED lighting, which now shines on artifacts in the museum’s furniture gallery, Civil War gallery and main hallway, will better expose and protect the historical gems.

“We’re not lighting the whole room now. We’re just lighting the object,” Herzog said. “We’re proud to be recipients of this.”

The new lighting was installed by the Catawba County facilities maintenance team.

“This facility is the heart stone of our city,” said Newton Mayor Robert Mullinax, adding that the new lights are an example of the importance the city sees in the museum and 1924 Courthouse.

Fixtures and More, a locally owned lighting, plumbing and décor business in Newton, provided the actual lights and materials for the project. All the materials are American-made.

“They took less profit to do this for the community,” Herzog said about Fixtures and More. “Enough can’t be said about their importance in this project.”

More improvements
The historical association also plans to make paint and carpet improvements in the museum.

A $10,000 grant from the Unifour Foundation will also allow museum officials to paint and replace carpet in some of the galleries, Herzog said.

All of the improvements help the museum take one step closer toward being accredited by the American Association of Museums, she said.

For more information on what’s going on in the museum, visit