Cosmosphere Cleanup: One Month Later

By: Natasha Trelfa Email
By: Natasha Trelfa Email

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Just a month ago, more than 40,000 gallons of water poured into the Cosmosphere. While it's all dried up and the museum is open, the less visible, but very costly damage is starting to show itself.

Thousands of space artifacts were saved from the flood but officials will have to replace thousands of dollars worth of damage to exhibits.

"Getting the water out of the museum, just that cost alone was over $50,000," said Christopher Orwoll, who's the president and CEO of the Cosmosphere, "Now it's just going to be a matter of beginning to repair the damage."

A water line valve break near the center in December left workers scrambling to save priceless artifacts. They managed to reopen the flooded part of the museum after just seven days. Officials say they are still trying to asses just how many items need to be replaced and predict there's at least $150,000 worth of repairs, if not more.

"When you take into account we've got carpet through a third of the museum, graphics, a lot of them laminated, they ripple, they peel back so those have to be replaced," said Orwoll.

Over the next few months, worker will rip up the carpet and replace everything from cabinets to hundreds of detailed, special graphics. Many were left wilted and rippled from moisture.

"People will see the work in progress," said Orwoll.

The repairs could take anywhere from two to five months. They said even with the mishap, they've seen excellent numbers in the past month and hope that continues through the repairs.

"We just appreciate the fact that everybody has been coming out and supporting us," said Orwoll.

Months of repairs are still ahead, but the museum will remain open. They'll plan to close off one gallery at a time until it's complete.

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