A faulty sump pump caused the Fife History Museum basement to flood on Nov. 6, prompting the museum to close for the next two months.
It was not a good way to start a Monday.
Fife Museum Director Julie Watts arrived for work on Oct. 31 to find two inches of water throughout the facility’s 2,000-square-foot basement that had flooded into the museum after the sump pump failed.
This was not the first basement flooding at the building, located at 2820 54th Ave. E.
“I knew that the museum had flooded in past years, and vice president of the Historical Society Louise Hospenthal had been continuously preparing me for this possibility. This being my first year though, I was still shocked when I got to the bottom of the stairs and stepped into that water,” Watts recalled.
None of the museum’s regular collection of historical items was permanently damaged. There was one newly received item that was on the floor waiting to be assigned a location that did sustain water damage.
“The board and volunteers did a superb job of reorganizing collection storage previously so it would not damage items in case of flood. We are now evaluating the extent of the water damage to the walls and flooring,” Watts said. “We definitely need to repaint all 2,000 square feet of our concrete floor. That is going to be a big job.”
The museum had just begun the initial stages of taking down the “Wedding Gowns of the Decades” exhibit, which has been on display for two years, when the flood occurred. At the monthly Fife Historical Society board meeting on Nov. 2, the board voted in favor of closing the museum for the next two months to assess and repair the damage, and set up the new museum exhibits.
“This situation prompted us to look at the flood in terms of the big picture. With our new exhibit, and also our new branding and signage, the community is in store for a big grand re-opening,” Watts said. “It will really be a new beginning for the Fife History Museum, and we are looking forward to making an even bigger impact in the community with this evolution. The flood just sped things up a bit.”