6.5. Colours

The effect of colours on our mood, attention and imagination is well known. The colour scheme of an exhibition is influenced by a variety of factors. According to a Hungarian textbook on museology, (Korek, 1988), the use of bright colours in European museums is an overseas influence. Traditional museum walls used to be greyish white, light, yellowish brown, or a lighter shade of grey, and installation furniture was beige or grey. Museums and galleries today use a wide range of different colours although the use of white as a background that accentuates other hues is still dominant. Black installation cases or walls provide dramatic effects and are also used more often these days. Children obviously prefer vivid colours. The Children’s Museum in New Orleans is housed in an old warehouse. Due to bright colouring and a creative division of space, the original function and atmosphere of the building has completely disappeared.

Two parts of a vaulted arcade with different light effects.

6.20. picture: In the Museum of the History of Technology in Florence, Italy, high, vaulted spaces are accentuated by colour and light effects. (Photos: Tamás Vásárhelyi)

Four colour and light projections in the installation of a skeleton of a dinosaur.

6.21. picture: In the Royal Belgian Institute of Science, there is an installation of a dinosaur skeleton that changes colours through a projection device. A place of serious scholarship with a touch of playfulness! (Photos: Tamás Vásárhelyi)

Two entrance halls with groups of visitors.

6.22. picture: The two images present the same museum entrance hall during two different exhibitions. Light effects create a strikingly different atmosphere suitable for the two presentations of modern art. Tate Modern, London. (Photos: Tamás Vásárhelyi)