Musco Lighting Donates an Illuminating Gift

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Date: December 23, 2014
Contact: Maureen McGee-Ballinger, 605-574-3115

KEYSTONE, SD: Musco Lighting, a manufacturer of design and sports-lighting systems in Oskaloosa, Iowa, has generously donated a new lighting system to illuminate Mount Rushmore. Throughout the year Joe Crookham, President of Musco Lighting, and the Musco Special Projects Team have been meeting with staff at Mount Rushmore National Memorial designing, developing, installing and fine tuning a new energy efficient lighting system for the sculpture.

The new system consists of 39 fixtures with 20 light emitting diodes, LEDs, per fixture and 10 fixtures with 84 LEDs for a total of over 1,600 directional LEDs. Each LED is individually focused. "We are painting with light," observed Joe Crookham. The new lights use 2.34 kilowatts per hour compared to the old lighting system at 24.6 kilowatts per hour resulting in an anticipated energy savings of 90%. Musco is providing an additional savings with a ten year warranty on parts and labor. According to Jim Berns, Manager of Special Projects Engineering, reducing energy consumption by over 90% will result in a similar reduction in CO2 emissions.

Karen Trevino, Chief of the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service, attended the final lighting trials observing, "Sustainable outdoor lighting is important for national parks because it combines technology, design and practice in a way that allows parks to increase energy efficiency and decrease costs by directing the least amount of light necessary on the areas intended to be lit. The Mount Rushmore lighting project by Musco illustrates the many additional benefits that result from good lighting practices including: improved visitor experience and opportunities to enjoy starry night skies, improved night time visibility and safety, better protection of nocturnal wildlife, and opportunities for local economic development through astronomy based tourism. For me, however, the capstone of this partnership is that the lessons we learned working with the Musco team can extend far beyond Mount Rushmore to benefit parks throughout the entire United States."

"We are thrilled with Musco's outstanding donation. The good lighting practices that have been initiated will result in energy efficiency, elimination of lighting spillover, enhanced visitor experience, and protection of cultural resources. We invite everyone to come to Mount Rushmore this holiday season and enjoy Musco Lighting's gift of light at the Shrine of Democracy," said Superintendent Schreier. The sculpture is currently illuminated from sunset until approximately 8 PM nightly. While park buildings will be closed December 25th, visitors will still be able to enter the park and enjoy the sculpture.

For additional information please visit the park web site at

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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