Quakes! Hurricanes! Keeping Historic Treasures Safe
by Mandy Katz, Communications Officer
When it shakes, it pours?
|Tudor Place damage from the earthquake was
limited mainly to cracks in the plaster. But what
does Hurricane Irene hold for us?
Plans for Hurricane Irene, expected this weekend, include moving exterior potted plants away from windows and stowing lighter lawn furniture, according to Suzanne Bouchard, our director of gardens and grounds. In the historic house, shutters and blinds will be closed and objects removed from window areas. Absorbent towels are going down in the basement, bomb shelter, and other areas possibly prone to water infiltration.
A few stone shards fell from the chimney of our administration building, a stately 1867 townhouse adjacent to Tudor Place’s north garden. (Note: This is why earthquake experts advise standing away from buildings if a temblor finds you outdoors.)
In a quake, avoid taking cover alongside buildings!
WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL PHOTO
A somewhat random check of fellow house museums finds our Georgetown neighbors at Dumbarton House unscathed and open for business. Across the river, in Virginia, Alexandria’s Gadsby’s Tavern is closed for several days, its chimneys’ having shifted. At Carlyle House, “John Carlyle’s 40 prints decided to rearrange themselves on the walls,” but no further damage was found, Director Sarah Coster reports. In Maryland, Riversdale Historic House is fine, but elsewhere in the Prince George’s County Park system, Mt. Calvert will need a new chimney and Marietta’s original structure may have separated from its new wing. At Beall-Dawson House in Rockville and Bowie’s Belair Mansion, damage was minor, but the words “plaster repair” did cross a few lips.