Burpee Assesses Destruction After Water Damage

By: Raquel Moore
By: Raquel Moore

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- We're starting to learn about just how many items were damaged at Rockford's Burpee Museum over the holiday.

It was the humidity that caused the worst damage, leaving mold on the inside of the walls and causing the delicate skin on the taxidermies to break and turning bones yellow.

"As things are starting to dry out we'r starting to see more evidence of splitting on some of our skins," said Scott Williams, director of science. "What we're trying to do is get humidifiers back in to these rooms."

The taxidermy was hit the hardest and is being kept in the banquet hall to dry out. The museum says the excess moisture results in the skin of these delicate artifacts expanding when too much water is in the air, causing it to split and leaving giant holes. The moisture is also a breathing ground for mold that has seeped into the walls and can potentially get into the specimens. They say the humidity level normally is at 40 percent but with the flood it shot up to 100.

"We have already reached out to other museums -- the Field Museum in Chicago and we've sent some calls up to the Logan Museum of Anthropology in Beloit," Williams said. "We're reaching out to the experts in those fields to kind of help us bring some of these specimens back to their original condition."

The museum still isn't sure how many pieces are damaged. They say more rips and tears will happen in time but they do believe several hundred pieces have been affected.

The museum says the flood was caused by a small pipe bursting because of freezing temperatures. They said it happened either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day when everyone was off.

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