Weather damages roof and floor of Slavery Museum

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 7, 2004

“It’s a mess,” said Joanne Bland, executive director of the Slavery & Civil War Museum.

The building, which is the former Selma Antique and Art Mall, was heavily damaged by water cascading through a portion of the roof which had been partly blown off in a storm six weeks ago.

Both the structure, which includes two stories and a basement, and the contents were damaged, Bland said. Artifacts were immediately moved to safe areas in the building, she said.

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Bland, who is executive director of both the slavery museum and the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute, estimates that about 50 percent of the roof was destroyed by the storm.

The museum has been closed since the incident.

The meeting with the insurance adjuster is expected soon, according to

Bland, who said she still was not able to put a dollar value on the damage but is sure that it will run into the thousands of dollars.

“Reconstruction should begin within a month,” Bland said, “and we hope to reopen the museum Oct. 1.”

Bland commented on the new floor that had been installed when the museum was opened two years ago.

“The building was old and we wanted to make it as usable and durable as possible,” she said. “We put in a floor made of synthetic products involving a six-part process. But the water got under it and caused it to bubble and it will have to be replaced.”