Friday, August 22, 2008

What is Going On Behind the Museum's Closed Doors?

For two weeks, beginning September 1st, DCM closes its doors to the public for its annual "shutdown." What many don't know is that inside the Museum, staff actively revive the Museum by:
  • researching and installing new experiences for our visitors,
  • making repairs and conducting maintenance to neighborhoods and exhibits, and
  • going above and beyond our already high-level of cleanliness by doing some deep cleaning.

According to Kim Stull, Director of Guest Services; and Paul Gooding, Museum Floor Manager, being open seven days a week can make it challenging for our team to do major repairs or maintenance without closing down certain areas of the Museum. Stull says, "We are one of the few museums that doesn't close sections on a regular basis." Both state that closing an exhibit or neighborhood for a prolonged period of time is something the Museum tries to avoid to ensure visitors get the most out of their visit. Gooding states, "if we have to close a neighborhood for more than a week, we try to do it during shutdown." Besides general repairs, maintenance that will take place over the next two weeks includes painting and inventory of all books and supplies.

By closing the Museum's doors for two weeks, staff members also have the chance to install new exhibits. This year, this includes installing new artwork and interactive exhibits in the Interact with Art Gallery. Staff also use this time to research new materials and/or manipulatives to be used in neighborhoods and exhibits.

Finally, DCM follows a regular cleaning schedule for its facility and its equipment throughout the year. Nightly and weekly routines ensure materials found throughout the Museum are sanitized and disinfected. However, the two-week shutdown provides the Museum with the opportunity to clean everything inside and out. "It's a time to clean inside all the nooks and crannies," says Gooding. Floor mats in WaterWays are removed and powerwashed, carpets are steamcleaned, and all pieces within the Museum (including fans and motors within AirWorks exhibits) are taken apart for a thorough cleaning.

Our staff is excited to share with our visitors the work that we have done during our two-week shutdown. DCM will reopen to the public on September 15th.

Stay Tuned!
In a later post, find out how learning=fun for DCM staff during shutdown! We'll discuss how over the next two weeks, DCM staff get to know one another, learn more about new exhibits/neighborhoods and get excited to see our visitors as we reopen on September 15th.

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