Guest blogger Brad Ford Smith is a Dallas artist and arts conservationist.
When disaster hits, all links to normality disappear, this affects the actual collection of information. One organization has stepped in to fill in one of those information gaps. The Texas Association of Museums has posted a city-by-city list of museums, galleries and historic homes impacted by hurricane Ike.
It is a relief to find out that Bishop’s Palace sustained little damage with only 3 feet of water on its bottom floor. But history was erased when the Lone Star Flight Museum was hit with over 7 feet of water, causing major damage to their airplanes and destroying a large portion of the artifacts on display.
Speaking as an art conservationist, the damage from this storm will take years to recover from. Important historic artifacts have been exposed to the most damaging elements mother nature can throw at them. In some cases these artifacts will have to undergo lengthy conservation treatments just to stabilize their condition. Other artifacts are beyond treatment. They are gone forever.
History is a very physical thing. We need things like books and paintings and odd bits of furniture to keep it alive. When these historical artifacts disappear, the history that surrounds them quickly fades away as well.
So check out the Texas Association of Museums’ listing. You may find that you can make a big impact for some quirky, little historic home that needs a little TLC.