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Crab Orchard Museum seeks help to recover from recent water damage

Article originally sourced from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph

"TAZEWELL, Va. — Recent flood damage to the Historic Crab Orchard Museum could take several months to repair, according to officials.

Crab Orchard Executive Director Charlotte Whitted said the water damage was discovered by the staff.

“It was an awful, heart-sinking moment to see so much water coming in, threatening to ruin what our organization has worked forty years to preserve,” Whitted said in a press release. “Crab Orchard Museum incurred severe flooding from three burst water pipes after the recent arctic temperatures rose back to normal on January 8. Staff discovered the damage in the museum center, with water pouring in from the ceiling and under a sink, flooding the lobby, the conference room and all of the office spaces.”

Whitted said all of the water damage was confined to the administrative wing, so very few artifacts were affected.

“Our Curator Elisabeth Hemsworth triaged the World War I photographs on display in the lobby immediately, removed them from their frames, and carefully dried them,” Whitted said. “The vintage case from Cury’s was saved. But after we push-broomed the standing water out the back door, our restoration company extracted seventy-five additional gallons from the carpets.”

Whitted said significant structural repairs must be made.

“Sheetrock, floor tile, and ceiling tile must be replaced in the kitchen, bathroom and lobby areas,” Whitted said in a press release. “Sheetrock must be replaced at the lower two feet of every office wall. Carpet must be replaced throughout. Tile must be replaced in the kitchen and bathroom. According to the contractor, these repairs may take months.”

Whitted said the staff set up their work stations in the Lucie Greever gallery.

“With no other relocation option, the staff set up temporary work stations in the Lucie Greever gallery,” Whitted said in a press release. “A temporary wall has been erected in the lobby to contain dust from the demolition and construction, while still allowing visitors and customers to access the museum’s permanent exhibits and gift shop. The flood has sidetracked some of the museum’s scheduled programs, including the new Flavors of the Past exhibit and the Crab Orchard Cuisine & Casino Night event.”

Whitted said officials have to defer the Flavors of the Past exhibit until returning to their offices.

“We have had to defer the exhibit until we can return to our offices,” Whitted said. “Crab Orchard Cuisine & Casino Night simply cannot be held in March as planned. We have no choice but to shift our focus to the present and immediate crisis. To safeguard against future incidents of this nature, the museum must remove water pipes from the ceilings in the museum, and reroute them to warmer, safe pathways. This rerouting is not covered by insurance, as it is considered preventative.”

Whitted said officials are appealing to the community to help cover costs.

“We are appealing to the community to recognize our need and donate not only to the restoration, but to cover the $12,000 loss to the annual operations budget without Crab Orchard Cuisine,” Whitted said. “To support this effort, please send donations to HCOM, 3663 Crab Orchard Rd. Tazewell, VA 24651 and mark them for flood relief.”

Whitted said the museum is also holding a Flood Sale in the Gift Shop February 6 through 10. The museum and Pioneer Park remains open to the public Tuesday through Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the winter. For more information, contact the museum at 276-988-6755 or"

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