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LED Lighting Casts Its Better Shadow on the Spirit of ’76

October 26, 2014

imagesAfter 138 years, a better light is finally shining on Archibald MacNeal Willard’s world famous and American iconic painting, The Spirit of ’76. Far from revolutionary, Marblehead’s late adoption of the cooler and clearer lighting system has been preceded as standard in museums for almost a decade.  The Salem News article((Saturday October 25, 2014)) referred to this new step as a “modern lighting system.” Well, as many Marbleheaders know, “new” means new to the Town, not new in the real sense of the word. But, anyway, lighting focused on the painting has long been a concern of informed historians and archivists. Only ten years ago the painting was enclosed in a plexiglass protection box and while hardly “protective” in the sense of vandals or terrorists, it does protect the work from the tactile explorations of Marblehead School children visiting the Selectmen’s room on class trips.

The new lighting will extend the life of the paint used in the classic work. Willard’s opus magnum is considered “priceless” and an irreplaceable national treasure by the United States government.

Now thanks to the intrepid and fearless board of Selectmen, it will finally be protected from the Town’s own lights.

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