It's one of the busiest weekends for Rockford's Burpee Museum of Natural History. This year, there's a lot of activity, but not for the same reasons as last December. Cleanup crews are hard at work after employees discover water damage.
"Our staff came in to open the museum on Thursday morning, yesterday morning and found about two inches of water on the main floor." -says Burpee Museum Executive Director Maureen Mall.
The Burpee had been closed since Monday for the holiday. Employees don't know when this all happened, but they think they know why.
"A pipe that froze and burst probably from that sub-zero cold we had on Christmas Eve." -Mall explains.
Water leaked into the auditorium, lobby, gift shop and the exhibit entryway. It ran down floorboards into the collections room which stores taxidermied animals, artifacts and fossils. Cell phone video shows water dripping from the basement's ceiling. Where hundreds of items once sat there are now empty shelves.
"Staff worked hard yesterday to move all the biology collections out and into safety and we're still kind of assessing damage today to both the collections and to the premises itself."
Animal collections settle into a temporary home at the Burpee. Fans and dehumidifiers blast, while cleanup crews get rid of the water. Museum employees can't give an exact cost of damage yet. They also don't know if everything will recover.
"Nothing in the exhibits was damaged, about 90% of our collections are in these storage rooms, so these are things that aren't generally out for the public to see or things that we rotate out periodically. We hope that everything is going to be just fine." -says Mall.
Staff members originally thought the museum would stay closed until Sunday, but it will reopen Saturday at 10 a.m.
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