Thursday, June 19, 2008

Clean Is Good

Welcome to the 100th post on ExhibiTricks!

Since ExhibiTricks is geared toward providing tricks and resources for creating better exhibits, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few tips on fighting the never-ending battle against dirt.

One downside of "hands-on" exhibits is that visitors hands can be pretty dirty! Nothing makes a museum or exhibit component look "poorly maintained" than grime and stains. I really think exhibit vandalism happens less in well-cared for and clean environments, so here are a few favorite tools to help you keep things looking fresh:

Kiss-Off Desperation drove me to Kiss-Off Stain Remover. I had tried every way I knew to remove old marker stains from a clear acrylic partition in a children's museum exhibit, and was unsuccessful. One day while shopping for materials in an Artist's Supply store, I noticed these things that looked like glue sticks labeled "KISS OFF" in bright red letters.

A clerk told me "that stuff gets ANY stain off anything!" So, I bought a stick and presto! the acrylic got clean! (And every other "stuck" stain in the museum too!)

To use Kiss-Off, just wet the non-toxic stick and rub it on the offending stain. Kiss-Off works on hard surfaces as well as carpet or fabric. A must have for any maker's toolkit.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser As discussed on the Ms. Exhibits Blog, The Magic Eraser is another must have for neat freaks. It just works. The only downsideAnother simple "just add water" tool to keep on hand at all times.

The Crayola Stain Guide is like a downloadable Wikipedia for stain removal. Who better to provide information for removing stains inside museums, or on exhibits, than the folks who make the things like crayons, paints, and markers that can create museum havoc as well as artistic masterpieces? One of my favorite tips from their downloadable PDFs? WD-40 easily removes crayon marks from walls.

Hopefully, the resources above will help your exhibits shine!

What's your museum clean-up secret weapon? Let us know in the Comments Section below. (I'd be especially interested to hear about effective green/eco-friendly solutions.)

If you're new to the ExhibiTricks blog, subscribe via email or your favorite news reader with the tools on the right side of the postings!