Gas lighting was available before the opening of the museum although sun lights were used instead of gas burners in the library. Galleries were top lit with a clerestory, to allow as much daylight in as possible.

A reliance on natural light meant that the museum needed to be closed early on dark winter evenings. Curator John Plant noted the daily weather in his diaries along with the number of visitors. In August 1890 a provisional order for the supply of electric lighting in the Borough of Salford was obtained. It was not until 1897 – 1898 that gas light was substituted for electric light in central libraries.