Some Museums Affected By Severe Cold Conditions Warmed-Up Employees, Cleaned-Up Damage

  • February 21, 2021 19:38

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View of Kirkland Museum’s central Promenade Gallery 2 designed by Jim Olson, with a view at the end of a Vance Kirkland painting on the wall of Kirkland’s studio & art school building. Photo Wes Magyar.

While millions in Texas suffered under a power grid meltdown last week as a historic winter storm gripped the region, some museum employees who were able to stay at work found warmth and functioning toilets.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, maintained industry standards of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and about 50 percent relative humidity on power from several large generators to keep the artworks safe. In addition, “We have 15 engineers who are sleeping at the museum right now because travel is not wise,” said director Gary Tinterow last week, according to Artnet. The museum was prepared for weather disaster after experiencing Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Record low temperatures caused water from sprinklers and pipes to break creating damage at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History on Wednesday, according to reports. The institution stated that staff quickly mitigated the damage, noting that while collections were safe, "it is going to take a long time to clean up."

On Facebook, Colorado's Kirkland Museum also stated on Wednesday that it "is temporarily closed to the public due to damage from a burst water valve in the wake of the recent polar vortex that froze much of Denver. The closure is anticipated to last through March."

"Damage to the Museum was mitigated by the swift response from Kirkland Museum staff, the facilities management team and a restoration contractor," the Kirkland Museum post continues. "Evaluation of the damage is continuing as the Museum dries out, and a staged mitigation is already in process."

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