Although the Galveston County Historical Museum did not come out completely unscathed from Hurricane Ike, the building proved to be a very safe place for historical artifacts and archives, according to museum director Jodi Wright-Gidley.
The basements of the building were flooded, which destroyed cases, frames, and other tools used for producing exhibits. The electrical and air conditioning systems were submerged, and those must be replaced before the museum can resume its original public hours. None of the artifact collection items were harmed. In order to maintain suitable environmental conditions for the artifacts fans, dehumidifiers, and portable air-coolers are running 24 hours a day.
While facilitating the repairs to the building’s systems, museum staff is now working to complete a photographic documentation of the collection. This inventory will be the first step in developing new educational exhibits. The new exhibit plan will tell the history of Galveston County in an interactive way using maps, video, images, artifacts, and hands-on elements. The second floor of the museum will continue to feature rotating exhibits.
Historians in the area are concerned that local history has also been affected by the hurricane. Family heirlooms and photographs may have been damaged by the flood waters, and pieces of the county’s historical record could be among the piles of debris. “If anyone has questions about how to care for their damaged photo albums or other antiques, they can contact the museum staff for a consultation,” said Director Jodi Wright-Gidley. “We also want to encourage people to continue donating items to the museum despite the fact that we are not actually open for visitors. It is very important for communities to protect their historical items, and the museum has the staff, facilities, and equipment to care for artifacts.”
For consultations about your family heirlooms or to make donations to the Galveston County Historical Museum, make an appointment with the staff by calling 409-502-0635.