Lighting up LASM: A new initiative to illuminate the museum year-round

The soaring windows of the museum’s planet tower make a memorable nighttime scene, but new lights promise to make the rest of the historic building equally brilliant. Photo by Mark Bienvenu.

The Louisiana Art and Science Museum has inspired countless minds, both young and old, ever since its 1962 opening in downtown Baton Rouge. And as the Capital City continues to develop, LASM plans to keep moving right along with it.

This holiday season, Visit Baton Rouge brought much-needed lighting to the building’s exterior, just in time for the Downtown Festival of Lights. The additional illumination made the museum visible on both sides of the river during both the day and night. It also inspired the museum’s leadership to raise funding through the “#LightTheMuseum” campaign, with hopes to keep the building lit permanently.

“We cannot thank Visit Baton Rouge enough for fully funding the temporary lighting project,” said Serena Pandos, LASM’s president and executive director. “As we look beyond the holidays, we hope to use VBR’s generosity as a springboard toward our goal of lighting the building year-round.”

Pandos says she believes that constant lighting across LASM’s exterior would further promote economic advancement in the area and continue to make downtown an ideal place to spend time. The proposed permanent lighting initiative would include full 360-degree color on the dome of the museum’s Irene W. Pennington Planetarium, as well as lights along the columns and on the eaves of the original portion of the building, which was constructed as a railway station in 1925.

“We hope that individuals and corporations in the community who want to continue increasing our quality of life—as well as our educational, cultural and economic development—will consider making a donation to help us permanently light the museum in 2020,” explains Pandos. “For this reason, we’re offering a new online donation portal to accept any gifts, large or small, because any amount goes a long way.”

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