Clark County Heritage Center

‘We’ll make it’: Heritage Center in Springfield officials say after building floods

The Heritage Center of Clark County will be closed for at least a month due to damage caused by a burst pipe.

Much of the damage happened in five rooms on the second floor of the museum — three of those rooms were for storing several historical objects that were used on a rotating basis.

“There were three collections rooms where every box was wet. Every object was wet,” said Director of Collections Virginia Weygandt.

Un Mundo Café, a restaurant housed inside the Heritage Center said that it will also be closed until further notice because of the damage.

None of the museum’s gallery rooms, where big name objects are located, sustained any damage. However school tours have been put on hold for now.

A dollar estimate for the damage was not immediately available Monday evening.

Since the pipe burst on Thursday, employees and volunteers have been working to move items out of the affected areas and lay them out on tables to dry completely before they go back in the boxes.

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Officials at the heritage center say they consider themselves lucky. Out of the 75,000 items owned by the Clark County Historical Society, the only item they had found that had been completely damaged was a small saucer.

Weygandt said she and the museum staff have been trained on storing the artifacts in the most efficient way, and she said that really helped to minimize the damage in this case.

“We will make it. It will take us awhile but we’ll definitely make it,” said Weygandt.

While Clark County Historical Society CEO Roger Sherrock said he’s breathing a sigh of relief that the galleries were not damaged, he said he is disappointed because this is the time of year when school tours are at a peak.

Sherrock said he got the call from the museum’s alarm company on Thursday night. He got to the museum to find water flowing from the top floor of the building to the bottom.

He thanked fire crews for their work to turn off the water and push as much water as they could out of the building.

“It was impressive in some ways and just made you be dumbfounded a little bit about what was going on,” Sherrock said.

He said the museum has run into some issues over the years, but nothing to the extent of this recent incident.

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Sherrock said he was still waiting to get the report back from the fire department that would have more information about why the pipe burst in the first place.

On Monday, employees and volunteers were moving the last of the boxes from the storage area. Construction crews were working to rip out and replace the entire floor, as well as assess damage to the ceilings.

Some of those ceilings had almost completely caved in and there was noticeable water damage on the walls.

Sherrock said he hopes the public will bear with them as they make the needed repairs and put everything back in its proper place.

In addition to the museum and the restaurant, the Springfield Arts Council also had hundreds of costumes and stage equipment drenched from the flooding, as well as damage to almost every office space it occupies in the facility.

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