Sunday, June 28, 2015

Is cleaning a boring topic? Not at Don Aslett’s Museum of Clean!

If you ever are anywhere near Pocatello, Idaho, make sure to stop in Old Town and pay the $6 admission to see the Museum of Clean. Back in 1989 its founder Don Aslett wrote a public speaking book called Is There a Speech Inside You? He also has co-authored a whole shelf of books about cleaning, including, of course, The Cleaning Encyclopedia. Watch the brief AP and CBS videos about his museum and his mission spreading the gospel of clean. Then watch Don play Happy Birthday with a toilet plunger. 

I visited it on June 24, 2015 and Don gave me and three other visitors a tour. When you walk in the door you’ll see a pair of knights made from galvanized steel buckets, tubs, and furnace ducts. He has a wide variety of items - thousands of them. There are curiosities like a trash compactor from the Space Shuttle Discovery, a quilt made from vacuum cleaner bags, and a bunch of plungers for hand washing clothes in buckets called Mountain Maytags.

Down in the basement there are exhibits that include Sweeping, Dusting, and Mopping. There’s a totem pole made of mop buckets, and a Bad Mop Bouquet.

On the ground floor the museum has an amazing collection of vacuum cleaners, including the World’s First (powered) Vacuum, a 1902 horse-drawn monstrosity as large as a modern carpet cleaning van. There are whimsical sculptures, and vacuums marked Try Me. There are exhibits on Hand Laundering, a bunch of washing machines, and Ironing. At the upper right of the ironing display there even is a pair of pants stretchers for putting in a crease by just air drying. I dimly recall those from before I was ten years old, when permanent press fabrics were not common.

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