Museums | Exhibits | Architecture | Educational and Cultural Institutions | Museum of Science and Industry |

The U-505 Submarine Exhibit

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago | 2014

Lightswitch Architectural re-illuminated the exhibit with new low-maintenance, energy-efficient lighting that enhances and ensures the consistency of the guest experience.

What It Was

A critical piece of WWII history, the U-505 submarine has been on display at the Museum of Science and Industry since the 1950s. The capture of the German submarine by the Allied forces marked a turning point in the war, and the salvaged sub has stood as a memorial to the many sailors who sacrificed their lives in WWI and WWII. One of MSI’s most popular attractions, the exhibit includes interactive stations, archival media, videos and artifacts, as well as the restored sub, which guests can tour.

What We Did

Lightswitch Architectural re-illuminated the exhibit with new low-maintenance, energy-efficient lighting that enhances and ensures the consistency of the guest experience. Working with the existing light design, we updated the exhibit’s outdated lighting technology to improve the overall experience and reduce energy use and maintenance. We cleaned and relamped the existing theatrical lighting luminaires that light the sub, adding new effects that replicate the authentic look of a marine maintenance hangar. The existing track fixtures were relamped with new digitally controlled LED PAR lamps that were color tuned to complement each unique aspect of the exhibit. We also replaced the T12 fluorescents that backlit the graphic panels with new LED lights to make the graphics pop.

Why It Worked

By adding energy-efficient, virtually no-maintenance products, we created a lighting solution that will not only reduce MSI’s energy and maintenance costs, but will also maintain its fresh look for years to come.