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Protecting historic artifacts from flooding


When severe weather strikes, the Cape Fear Museum has a mission. Keep the artifacts safe in order to preserve history. It’s a big project, that’s been tested throughout the years. “Floyd was really hard on us. We got an inch of water in the basement,” said Cape Fear Museum curator Barbara Rowe. “Fortunately it did not directly touch any artifacts, so we didn’t have any water damage. But what it did do was raise our humidity levels to where we did get some mold.”

The main problem area is the basement. It contains many of the artifacts deep under ground, making it especially prone to flooding. Storms like Floyd pointed out this weakness.

In the basement there are three main precautionary measures used to help keep the artifacts safe. One of which being four inch plastic pallets that elevate all the artifacts above the floor. Another is sump pumps installed throughout the facility that help to pump the water out in the event that it did collect on the floor of the basement. There is also a control panel for newly installed generators that would keep the electricity running in the event of a power outage.

Even with all these measures to protect the basement’s treasures, when a storm strikes, its all hands on deck.

Even with revamped storm preparations, museum curators know sometimes, there’s no stopping Mother Nature. “I feel good. I can’t say that I feel in control. You’re never in control,” said Rowe.

The museum is creating a list of the most historically important pieces in their collection, that way they can be saved first in the event of an evacuation.

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videoIn the event of a hurricane, many of us have a plan for protecting our homes and valuables. But what about historic artifacts housed in city buildings like the Cape Fear Museum?

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