Mount Rushmore Introduces Unique Lighting System

The more than two million visitors who travel to Mount Rushmore National Memorial each year will now enjoy an enhanced night time viewing experience, thanks to an innovative new lighting system with an LED light source that was recently installed at the memorial.

The new system, custom designed and manufactured by Musco, will result in less light pollution, while improving the lighting at the national memorial and saving energy.

“The pinpoint nature of LED technology allows the development of precise optics for optimizing light distribution for unique applications like Mount Rushmore,” said Joe Crookham, President, Musco Lighting.

Lighting Mount Rushmore presented a number of challenges to the Musco team throughout the project. The system needed to be engineered to project light over 1,100 feet, while directing the light to illuminate the monument, and not the mountain below.

The new system accomplished this though several key features that improve efficiency and light control, including:

-Advanced optic controls that highlight the aesthetics of the monument, while ensuring light is not spilled into the night sky and natural wildlife area
-A custom control system that allows park rangers to precisely highlight each of the four presidents depicted in the mountainside carving, creating an even more inspiring presentation
-Reducing energy consumption by 90% when compared to the previous lights

“Musco’s sustainable lighting design will reduce night sky pollution, promote energy efficiency and result in an overall cost reduction. Visitors will experience new opportunities to enjoy the night sky; focused lighting will enhance habitat for nocturnal wildlife; and enrich potential for new interpretive programming,” stated Mount Rushmore Superintendent Cheryl Schreier.

“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.” said Mount Rushmore Superintendent Cheryl Schreier.

With the new lights in place, Mount Rushmore National Memorial has now joined other famed landmarks that also feature customized lighting systems by Musco, including the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty, the White House, and the East Span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Here is a video of the Mt. Rushmore lighting system by Musco.


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