HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg has a new fundraising project.

They call it “Shine a Light on History”, and they mean that literally. Museum Chief Executive Office Jeffrey Nichols explains:

“We’re asking people to help us replace the lighting in the museum from a whole series of different types of lighting to led lights.”

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Right now the lights in the museum are a mishmash of incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent lights, as well as a few diodes. They can get expensive.

“Like many people out in the community, our electric bill has almost doubled over the past year,” said Nichols. “LEDs are much more efficient, they’ll drive down the costs for us.”

Mr. Nichols knows whereof he speaks. “I worked in another place in Connecticut, and we put in LEDs in a building about half the size of this, and it cut our electric bill in half.”

Another advantage to LEDs is they don’t give off heat or ultraviolet light, both of which can damage artifacts.

“And therefore,” says Nichols, “We can actually raise the light levels in the galleries a little bit more than they are today, which is really the main complaint we get from our visitors, that the galleries are too dark. And that is true. There are spots where the galleries are dark. Some lights aren’t working as efficiently as they once did, other places we control the light levels because of the collection there. So the LEDs will solve a lot of those issues.”

This will be more complicated than just changing some bulbs. Fortunately, it won’t have to be done all at once.

“Because this is an entirely new system, that means replacing a lot of hardware,” says Nichols. “Hopefully, we can use a lot of the existing fixtures, rewiring some of them. We have 17 galleries in the museum, we’re going to take it gallery by gallery as we have the funds.”

The bottom line is a better experience for visitors.

“People have a wonderful experience when they come here. The reviews on Google and other sites are always close to five stars because of the stories that we tell here, the completeness of the stories. The one complaint that’s been consistent over the last few years is that the galleries are too dark.

To learn more about the museum, click here. To make a donation to “Shine a Light on History”, click here.