Are You Sure You’re Ready for Summer? The Importance of Museum Maintenance
Posted on Jun 6, 2022 6:00:00 AM
With the busy summer season approaching, museums need to keep every system and exhibit running smoothly. That means performing regular Preventative Maintenance.
But maintenance isn't just crucial for the summertime surge. Proper maintenance is essential all year round so museums can find and correct problems before they spiral out of control.
The Little Things
Plenty of minor issues can become major disruptions if you don’t keep an eye out for them. Proper upkeep is always important – fortunately, it's not always arduous. Some of these issues are as simple as a worn-out cable or a control system that needs a reboot.
Here are some things you can do yourself:
- Check for wear and tear: Inspect your equipment for faulty wiring and connections that might have come loose. Clean dust out of projector filters, and make sure lighting bulbs are fresh. Even systems that seem complex – like MediaMerge's holograms – can be kept in pristine condition with a simple lens cleaning. Museum exhibits operate long hours, so check systems regularly.
- Turn it off-and-on: Automated AVL control systems are complex. And most of these systems aren't meant to run 24/7/365. Power surges or dropouts can interrupt the controllers and affect the performance of your equipment. Thankfully, many software issues or minor glitches can be solved with a simple reboot. Take the time to shut down and restart your system periodically.
- Keep a record: Write down when new equipment arrives and when old equipment is serviced. Having records of your museum’s “maintenance timeline” helps you estimate when equipment may start to fail.
- Train your staff: It’s never a good idea to have one employee manage all maintenance issues. Make sure everyone in the organization knows how to check for maintenance issues that should be reported.
- Keep backups onsite. Getting replacement parts for intricate electronics can quickly become a challenge. Simple parts like projector lamps or bulbs for lighting fixtures are cheap and easy to store. If something breaks, it may take days or weeks to have a new part delivered. That downtime gets costly. That’s why it’s critical to maintain gear regularly and to form partnerships with skilled technicians like the team at MediaMerge so that gear is back up and running as quickly as possible.
The Big Stuff
After months and months of repeated use, specially-calibrated projection or lighting systems may need to be adjusted to achieve peak performance. Recalibration of these systems should be handled by professionals like MediaMerge.
We recommend that you tour your facility every once a week and take critical, analytical notes on lighting and sound systems that might have fallen out of adjustment. Use each of your senses to check each exhibit. If you notice an issue, try to be as detailed as possible when describing the problem so that the Service team at MediaMerge can pinpoint the issue and fix it sooner, saving you valuable time and getting your exhibit back up and running as soon as possible.
Why Preventative Maintenance Matters
Exhibit Up-Time is the name of the game when it comes to maintenance. While proper maintenance may take time out of your schedule, it also saves huge amounts of time and money in the long run by catching and fixing minor issues that cause exhibits to be down for days or weeks.
As a whole, Tourism has suffered greatly over the last few years. And with Summer approaching, museums can't afford unexpected downtime. But more importantly, museums need to stay operational to bring the joy of learning and experiencing back to the public.
Preventative Maintenance might not be as fun as creating new exhibits or educating the public, but it’s an integral part of making sure you get to do the fun stuff.