Homestead National Monument of America officials scrambled over the weekend to save artifacts, displays and books in the monument’s Heritage Center, following a water main break.
Monument Superintendent Mark Engler says officials were summoned by a motion alarm, at around 5:22 PM Friday. The lower level of the center had water about an inch deep covering the floor. A curtain of water fell from a pipe along the lower level.
Volunteers helped monument staff to take quick action to save artifacts, painting, books and other items. Engler says some rare books were likely damaged and efforts were being made to preserve collections with the assistance of a conservator from Kansas City.
He said the monument took immediate steps to ensure the long-term care and protection of items. He said it’s NOT believed any items were completely lost. Engler says it appears exhibits in the lower level of the center escaped serious damage.
Fans and portable heating units were spread throughout the building over the weekend, removing moisture from the center. One computer was destroyed by water, but there was no other loss of electronic equipment.
Engler lauded the assistance of local companies who responded to the water break. He says it’s somewhat surprising a water main break would affect the center, which opened less than three years ago. Over 250 books and more than 100 wood items were exposed to water. It’s not been determined when the Heritage Center will reopen to the public.
Thanks to Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice