Oklahoma City Memorial & Museum damaged from rainstorm
A tour group from Minnesota was not able to visit The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum building on Monday because an overnight thunderstorm caused damage to the interior of the building.
The water came into the building where construction crews were working on the roof on the east side of the Journal Record Building, said Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
The museum at 620 N Harvey Ave. houses archives from the April 19, 1995, bombing of the federal building that resulted in 168 deaths in downtown Oklahoma City.
Some of the archives are in an 8,000-square-foot, climate-controlled storage area with more than 1 million items including documents, artifacts and photographs. Others are on the first and second floors.
The water spread into the museum building, but no artifacts were damaged, Watkins said.
"We feel very, very lucky," Watkins said.
Watkins said she was notified about midnight that there was a problem.
"We were right on top of it last night," she said.
Dehumidifiers and 45 fans were being used to air out the museum Monday as insurance officials examined the building.
Most of the damage occurred in the media gallery and in the room where visitors can hear the sound of the bomb going off.
"The walls were damaged," Watkins said. "The artifacts were in cases."
Heritage Wealth Management Co. is the new owner of the eastern half of the Journal Record Building. The company is renovating, and the business will be the anchor tenant of what will be called the Heritage Building.
The western portion of the building will remain the home of the museum.
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"We are excited about the development on the other side," Watkins said. "It is just some growing pains. It was just an accident and we will have to work through it."
Plans are to reopen the museum at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
"We plan to work through the night," Watkins said Monday.
The Minnesota visitors, about 45 people, toured the outdoor museum on Monday before continuing on with their trip.
"They will be back here on Saturday," Watkins said.
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›