June 27, 2022

Sandy Forces Connecticut River Museum To Close For Flood Damage Repair

(l-r) , Bogaert Construction Supervisor Paul Deckelman , CRM Executive Director Jerry Roberts and Bogaert Construction Principle Bruce Lawrence assess damage from flooding in the Connecticut River Museum’s Boathouse Education Center.

Essex, CT – With Essex Village still in the dark in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, flood damage cleanup and repair work has begun at the Connecticut River Museum.  Situated on the banks of the Connecticut River, the National Register 1878 steamboat warehouse that houses the Museum’s exhibit galleries, education center and gift shop saw over a foot of water flood the first floor while the basement of the adjacent chandlery building was awash in waist-high waters.   The schooner Mary E was moved to safe harbor at Deep River Marina while storm preparation efforts by Museum staff and friends on Sunday afternoon, which included moving every item up to the second floor gallery, greatly decreased the overall loss.    Early assessments indicate that, at minimum, most of the first floor wood flooring and carpeting along with sections of drywall and some electronics will have to be replaced.  The Museum is closed to the public with plans to open in a limited capacity for the opening of the annual Holiday Train Show on November 16.

“While we are relieved that we did not lose anything that is irreplaceable or of historic value, the repair and restoration process will be a significant financial setback for us,” stated Executive Director Jerry Roberts, “Insurance coverage is in place but we are looking at tens of thousands of dollars of damage that is not covered.  We are now taking complete inventory of the storm’s impact and looking for other sources of disaster relief funding.”

Museum Executive Director Jerry Roberts, pictured, said it was too early to quantify damages (photo by Jerome Wilson)

This is the second hit to the Museum in the last few years.  In August 2010, a fire destroyed portions of the roof, exterior siding and docks and caused interior water and smoke damage.  Those restorations efforts were completed in 2011.

The Connecticut River Museum is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley.  More information can be found at www.ctrivermuseum.org.   Donations may be sent to Connecticut River Museum, 67 Main Street, Essex, CT 06426.

Museum’s treasured schooner, the Mary E, sat out the storm at Deep River marina (photo by Jerome Wilson)