[Scott Moulton posting- a follow up to the Design for Change series]
Designing for change should have the end result of making exhibits that last longer so I thought I would give a couple strategies on designing for longevity.
Use simple solid materials that will take wear and can be resurfaced. Solid wood, plyboo, concrete, recycled glass countertops, all are highly durable and wear in ways that enhance the appearance of the material.
Use materials that are easy to replace, retouch or modify. "Patch and paint" can go a long way to refresh an exhibit. Damaged glass can easily be replaced with a call a local glass shop. Similarly there are sheet metal shops in every town with the ability to make some pretty complex parts.
Designing around the in-house capabilities of the museum is another key way to make an exhibit last. Is the shop more geared towards wood or metal work? How much experience is there with media or electromechanical interactives?