By Richard White, March 20, 2014
The concept of clean dominates our everyday lives like never before in the history of mankind. We wash our hands several times a day and brush our teeth and floss at least twice a day. We shower and bath daily. We have numerous TV shows and books about how de-cluttering our homes will make us happier and healthier. Children today learn about the importance of a clean planet and clean environment in elementary school.
Well, one man has taken the concept of clean to a higher level and created his own museum to house his personal collection of over 5,000 clean related objects and to share his encyclopedia of knowledge of the subject of clean both globally and historically.
Who is this guy?
Don Aslett, chairman of Varsity Contractors Ltd. (a janitorial services company he founded with his brother in 1957), is so committed to the importance of the concept clean in our society that he bought and renovated an 75,000 square foot, six-floor old warehouse building in Pocatello Idaho’s Old Town to create his Museum of Clean. His commitment to clean includes renovating the building to LEED Platinum standards; this means the building’s renovations and operations are of the highest standards for both energy efficient and environmentally friendly use and recycling of materials.
In addition to collecting over 5,000 clean related objects going back 2,000 years, he has written over 35 books, including Clutter's Last Stand and Do I Dust or Vacuum First? Aslett is an octogenarian who would put most GenYers to shame, working a 14-hour day, seven days a week.
More often than not, when you visit the Museum of Clean, Aslett will be there and don’t be surprised if he gives you a private tour of all or part of his collection.
About the Museum
The Museum of Clean is pure clean fun for all ages with over 5,000 fun and quirky artifacts. Young kids and even teens love to get “vacuumed off” before they enter the 30 foot high, green “Kids Planet” cage, where they will learn all about saving the planet. Then there is Noah’s Ark where everyone gets to learn everything they wanted to know but were afraid to ask about “importance of water.”
There are over 50 hands-on activities; this in not a “stuffy museum” with grouchy security guards telling you to be quiet and not to touch. Test your skills using different floor polishers - it is not as easy as it looks, perhaps grandma can show you how! Seniors get to reminisce about the good old days of hand-ringer washers, hanging clothes outside to dry and bathing once a week (sometimes in the same water as your other siblings). There is also a great film on the history of clean that will bring back memories – good and bad!
Dads might be interested to know that Cadillac used to make a vacuum or he might like showing off his muscles trying to lift the 60-pound vacuum cleaner with one hand. Kids love the “cleaning windows” activity area. This can come in handy when you do you next get around to cleaning your windows at home or in the car.
In addition, there are over 30 photo stops, so make sure your phone is fully charged as photography is encouraged.
Top ten reasons you should visit the Museum of Clean:
- It might well be the most fun you've ever had in a museum?
- The whole family gets in for 15 bucks.
- Where else can you see a prison toilet and a model used by Queen Elizabeth the First to do a #2?
- The kids can literally get their nosed dirty, learning about what life was like for chimney sweeps in the 19th century. Bet they don’t complain about cleaning their room after that.
- You think your life sucks. Try owning over 300 vacuums, most are pre-electric and one weighs over 60 pounds.
- Husbands will love and wives will hate the rocking chair vacuum.
- Kids are responsible for making sure their parents don’t run in the museum.
- Don’t worry you don’t have to take your shoes off at the front door.
- You get to see a garage that is more cluttered than yours!
- Don Aslett is a really nice guy.
Don’t just believe us - Trip Advisor, American Automobile Association and American Association of Retired Persons have all made the Museum of Clean their #1 pick of places to visit in Pocatello, Idaho.
Our #2 pick is to visit Main Street, Old Town, Pocatello (just a few blocks away) to check out the early 20th late and 19th century architecture, neon signs and ghost signs (those old painted billboards that have faded over the years). It is a photographer's dream with some great old neon signs. You can print out self-guided walking tour maps on the Old Town website. Best time to visit is on Saturdays from May to October when the farmer's market is in full swing.