WSMR Museum employees had to remove items from a warehouse that held the WSMR Museum’s archives and artifacts after the warehouse flooded in September of last year.
WSMR Museum Director Darren Court said they were able to save the documents and artifacts before the flooding got any worse. Though the archives and artifacts came away unharmed the leaks in the building walls and floors led to the discovery of lead paint flaking off of the walls.
“We got lucky, really lucky, we were able to catch it in time where it didn’t ruin anything,” Court said. “We got there not long after it happened, there was about an inch, inch and a half of water.”
The warehouse contained about 25,000 documents and artifacts. The artifacts inside of the warehouse had to be moved into 10 Conex containers and the archives were temporarily moved to Building 1510 through a consideration made by the Range Commander’s Council. There, volunteers are working to transfer archive videos into DVDs and process material that arrives from the Warhead Branch. WSMR Executive Director, Ed Kennedy, who is also a part of the Range Commander’s Council, volunteered his building for the archiving during a council meeting. Kennedy said, during a time where space is such a premium he does not know what the museum would have done with the archives if they could not find a space to work in.
“We were more than glad to find a way to help,” Kennedy said. “It’s a part of our collective heritage here at White Sands, it’s something we need to preserve and protect and this was a way of doing that.”
“The RCC (has) been around since 1951 and the tie-in between our activities and the museum is a natural tie, and if we’re going to go anywhere in the future preserving these materials is a vital aspect,” Kennedy said.
While the artifacts are temporarily stored the old warehouse is being revamped by clearing out the walls and placing a sealant on the floor. Court said the cleaning out of the warehouse served a good purpose for the museum in that it will allow them to look over the artifacts before re-storing them to see if they are essential items to keep.
“When we can’t really tell a story or a certain aspect of history (with it) then we’re going to take a hard look at it to see if we really need it in the collection,” Court said.