Updated 12/13/2012 01:01 PM
South Street Seaport Museum Set To Reopen With New Exhibits
The South Street Seaport suffered significant damage from Hurricane Sandy's storm surge and the Seaport Museum was shuttered for weeks -- but now the museum is set to reopen Friday after a thorough cleanup. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
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Hurricane Sandy left the South Street Seaport area a mess, and the Seaport Museum was no exception.
"We had seven feet of water on Fulton Street, the lobby here was actually five feet deep," said Museum of the City of New York Chief Curator Sarah Henry. "That had a huge impact on our operations because all of our systems are underground."
But the museum will kick off two new exhibitions Friday to celebrate its reopening after a lot of hard work.
One is "A Fisherman's Dream". It's folk art by Mario Sanchez. The other is a contemporary photo exhibit called "Street Shots NYC."
Visitors will have to use stairs for the time being since elevators and escalators remain out of service.
The museum's collections survived because they were on upper floors and the historic ships also made it through the storm.
But there was a lot of work to be done to get the museum reopened.
Since financial problems forced it to close for 10 months last year, it's been under the management of the Museum of the City of New York
"We had actually hundreds of volunteers come to help us recover," Henry said.
Part of the work included cleaning up the museum's Bowne Printers shop.
It was supposed to open in early November using printing presses and type dating back to the 19th century. Resident printer Ali Osborn says the priority was dealing with irreplaceable wood type.
"Getting it out of the cases, which are also made of wood, and letting it air dry and then the next step was we would clean the face of every single letter," Osborn said. "We're talking 30 drawers of type each with hundreds of letters."
Still, folks at the museum are just glad to be able to welcome back guests.
"We've been striving to be a vibrant cultural attraction that can really anchor this neighborhood," Henry said. "We think that we can play that role even more vitally in these days, weeks and months after the storm hit this neighborhood so hard."
Museum officials estimate it will cost $22 million to repair and restore electrical, mechanical and heating systems and relocate them to upper floors so they will be safe from future storms.
For information on how you can help out, head to southstreetseaportmuseum.org.