The Big Clean Up!

According to various weather forecasts, it would seem that there is not a lot of snow coming in our direction for the next few days. The awful weather has caused problems for some of our staff as they try to get into work every day but has not deterred our visitors and on one of my regular monitoring walks around the floors I had a nice conversation with a group of people from Texas, USA. However, just as in our own homes, the winter light really shows up the dust and dirt and a quick look in some of the exhibition cases has spurred me on to press ahead with our winter cleaning programme. Not only does dust spoil the look of museum objects, it can also cause a lot of damage, such as coating a surface which can absorb moisture from the atmosphere. As we don’t close for the Winter any cleaning that is required has to be done during opening times when there are visitors around. I don’t mind this at all, in fact I see it as a perk of the job, a chance to show off not only my own skills and knowledge but our fascinating and beautiful objects. So for the next few weeks I will be in the Streatlam gallery at various times, with a museum vac and a selection of brushes and cloths having ‘a lot of fun’. I will be starting with the toys, a real treat, as I’m old enough to remember playing with similar items and working my way through to the next room where we have objects as diverse as a 19th century Japanese carrying chair (Norimono) and an18th century French boxwood tobacco grater. If you are planning to visit us in the near future, do stop and say hello to me if you see me in the Streatlam galleries, I love an excuse to talk about the work I do as a Conservation Technician at The Bowes Museum.



2 thoughts on “The Big Clean Up!

  1. Dear LS,
    Could you tell me what you use to clean the insides of your museum cases? Do you ever use liquid (and what kind if you do) with microfibre cloths?


  2. Dear Diane,
    In answer to your query about cleaning the insides of museum cases. There are a lot of different museum cases, but this is how I cleaned those in the Streatlam galleries. First of all I emptied them and vaccummed them starting at the top and working downwards including the sides and shelves. Any glass shelves and doors are vacuumed first to remove excess dust and then using warm water and a soft lint free cloth, are washed. They are then dried and polished using another soft cloth. If the shelves are very dirty you can put a drop or two of Boots sensitive washing up liquid (which is pH neutral) into the warm water and then rinse it off. The important thing is that the shelves don’t get to wet and that they are completely dry before you put objects back in. I haven’t used microfibre cloths for the job, I may do that in the future
    Thanks for the query


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