Museum Supply List for COVID-19 Recovery

Oklahoma museums face a variety of potential disasters from pandemics, water, fire, wind and other forces of nature. It is essential that museums prepare in advance for potential disasters by having a response plan in place that includes a list of resources for supplies and services needed during an emergency.

OMA does not endorse any of the following companies, but rather provides this list as a resource

If you would like to add a supply source to the list below, please contact Brenda Granger, OMA Executive Director.

Museum Supply List for COVID-19 Recovery

National Park Service - Harpers Ferry Center (HFC) Guidance for Cleaning/Disinfecting Exhibitry to Combat Novel Coronavirus

Below are some recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting specific components commonly found and touched by visitors in an exhibit environment.

  • Fabricated/Purchased Exhibit Components
    Tactile exhibits
    Exhibit cases/vitrines with museum objects (exteriors only)
    Exhibit panels (within reach of public)
    A/V equipment in exhibits such as touch screens, monitors, and interactive exhibits
    Wayside exhibits
    Non-historic doorknobs, handrails, benches and chairs, and reading rails

  • Locate and consult manuals/guides - For all fabricated/purchased exhibit components consult the exhibit maintenance manual/guide or Housekeeping Plan (if they exist). Some of these documents outline appropriate and/or inappropriate cleaning and disinfecting methods to use that are specific to the needs of the construction materials/equipment. Using inappropriate products/chemicals or methods can damage surfaces at any time.

    • Test cleaning and disinfecting methods (if guide/manual exists) – Even if cleaning and disinfecting products are suggested in the exhibit maintenance manual/guide, first test those products on a small, unobtrusive area if these are not used on a regular basis as part of a housekeeping plan. If the proposed cleaner or disinfectant damages the surface, discontinue use. Damage can be considered a change in appearance of the test area surface, resulting in noticeable difference compared to surrounding untested surface. If used regularly such as in a Housekeeping Plan proceed as normal. If in doubt, contact an HFC conservator BEFORE using any product or with other questions or concerns.

  • Explore options if no manual/guide exists – If no guide or manual can be found some cleaning and disinfecting may still be able to be performed for certain surfaces provided tests are completed on small, unobtrusive areas first and no damage is observed.

  • The following chart contains cleaning and disinfecting solutions that are recommended for TESTING on:
    Tactile exhibits
    Exhibit panels (within reach of public)
    Wayside exhibits
    Non-historic doorknobs, handrails, benches and chairs, and reading rails

If tests prove to cause no damage, cleaning and disinfecting can be conducted. Cleaning and disinfecting should occur at least once a day (more if possible, considering visitor traffic and staff time). It may be advised to set up a routine of cleaning each morning before buildings open for the day.

Supplies (need for cleaning and disinfecting)

Orvus WA Paste™ (pH neutral, synthetic soap)- available on or commonly found at horse tack shops.

• Spray bottles – new/clean bottles

• Distilled water

• Isopropyl alcohol (at least 70% concentration)

• Paper wipes/towels (disposable) – one recommended brand is:

WypAll®- All-purpose Wipers:

DO NOT use paper wipes/towels that are rough and not very absorbent as they could potentially scratch surfaces (these include the commonly found brown

Cleaning (for surfaces listed previously that can withstand cleaning)

Mix 1 TBSP of Orvus WA Paste™ per gallon of distilled water to make a diluted solution. Note that the solution will NOT produce suds. Do not use dish detergents or commercial cleaners because they may leave a film that is difficult to remove and may permanently damage some decorative finishes and metals.

• Fill a spray bottle with soap solution and label the outside to indicate what solution is inside.

• Fill a second spray bottle with distilled water only and label the bottle.

• Spray enough soap solution onto a paper wipe/towel that it dampens the paper wipe/towel, but not so much that wiping the surface will leave water streaks. Using limited amounts of water is critical because saturating historic finishes with soapy water causes risk to surrounding fragile historic wallpaper and/or painted wall finishes.

• Wipe the surface with the soap solution-dampened paper wipe/towel, only a few passes before throwing out the paper wipe/towel. Repeat process until the entire surface has been cleaned.

• Wipe the surface again with a paper wipe/towel lightly dampened with distilled water. This will “rinse” the surface of any remaining soapy residue.

Disinfecting (For surfaces listed previously that can withstand disinfecting)

  • Slightly dampen a paper wipe/towel with isopropyl alcohol. Do not dampen so much that the paper wipe/towel drips or wiping the surface leaves streaks.

  • Wipe the surface with the dampened paper towel, only a few passes or until the paper towel feels like it is starting to dry. Throw out that paper towel and repeat the process until the entire surface has been wiped.

*Note that although isopropyl alcohol is considered a mild solvent, having a trashcan full of damped paper towels can pose a risk. Stagger cleaning of surfaces throughout the day so that the disposed towels have a chance to dry (evaporate) completely.

The above-mentioned cleaning and disinfecting solutions are NOT recommended for:

  • Exhibit cases/vitrines with museum objects (exteriors only) – If there is no existing manual/guide for cleaning and disinfesting cases/vitrines, do not attempt the solutions mentioned above. The intrusion of water into the cases could be a major problem. Vitrines made of acrylic are of special concern as they could be easily scratched, even with paper wipe/towels.

Seek methods for distancing visitors from cases/vitrines using stanchions and signs that remind them DO NOT TOUCH.

  • A/V equipment in exhibits such as touch screens, monitors, and interactive exhibits – The electronic components could be at risk from mechanical failure if cleaning and disinfecting solutions are introduced.

As suggested earlier, consider creating alternative programs or media. Also consider placing a plastic sheet (Mylar) over touchscreens. This Mylar sheet can be disinfected or replaced on a regular basis.