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Virginia Living Museum

August 25, 2012 Flood Recovery

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 Flood Story
Flood Photos
 Flood Recovery
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Despite secured floodgates at the VLM the morning of Aug. 25, heavy rains inundated the entire lower level of the main museum building and the Wason Education Center. 

Maintenance supervisor Rick Lentz came in at 5:45 a.m. in response to a flash flood warning and installed the three flood gates, assisted by Herpetology Curator Travis Land. However, water from Deer Park Lake covered the boardwalk and poured over the 2 feet, 6 inch-tall gates, flooding the museum. The metal flood gates were designed to withstand a 100-year-flood.

Early indication told us that no animals were harmed.  Unfortunately, on the Monday after the flood, it was discovered the Little Blue Heron and the Black Crowned Night Heron, housed in the Coastal Plains Aviary, fell victim to the flood.

This was the second time the museum flooded in 2012.

Museum Executive Director Page Hayhurst said flooding like this had never happened before in the museum’s 45-year history. The museum sustained at least twice as much damage this time as from the flood in May.

Between the May and August floods, the museum built a new house for the raccoons on top of the hill so that they can be away from future flooding. The museum contacted the Newport News Stormwater Division and  began talks with the College of William and Mary to conduct a hydrology study of Deer Park Lake to see if changes in the lake are contributing to the flooding.

Clean-up efforts began immediately.  All of the carpeting and about two feet of drywall have been removed from the exhibit areas, classrooms, offices and hallways on the lower level. Floor level wiring has being replaced.

VLM Executive Director Page Hayhurst said insurance will cover most of the repair costs, but the museum must meet a $50,000 deductible - just as it did after the flooding in May.

See additional photos here.

Learn what the museum is doing to reduce future flooding and expedite recovery after a flood.

Gifts of any amount are important and appreciated. The VLM is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please consult your tax advisor for further information.

Your donation form will be processed by the Development Department within five days.  An acknowledgement from the VLM will be mailed to you.  Inquiries, please email the Development office.

Please complete the form below and proceed to check out using your credit card. 

For assistance, email Development or call 757-595-1900 x286

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