$100,000,000 Museum Assignment

“$100,000,000,” that was the estimate for the value of the property and contents of a museum (although the curator thought the estimate was low – especially considering that many of the pieces were irreplaceable).

A storm had struck the property with such force that the edifice’s 5000 sq. ft. basement now contained 7 feet of contaminated water and since both the ruined boilers and the electrical grid for the entire building were located there, the temperature and humidity were rising (90 degrees F and 80% humidity).

The adjuster recommended that everything be moved to the contents pros’ temperature controlled facility, but the curator absolutely forbade it. A second expert was brought in and agreed with the curator. “What if something were lost or damaged?”

The adjuster realized that one cannot replace irreplaceable contents, and even though the contents specialists had a stellar reputation, he just couldn’t take the chance. So, everything stayed in place.

Worse, the structural team was known for using a special “rapid dry” technique for water damage jobs, but when the adjuster, the contents manager and the curator talked things over, they decided that fast drying techniques could actually place the collection in jeopardy.

The curator wanted the climate to be brought to 70 degrees F and 50% relative humidity… slowly. The team did as the curator asked, with a 5% rate of change per 4-hour period, but still the curator said they were moving too fast – so they reduced the process to a 2% rate of change – it was what the curator wanted, and it was what she got.

The contents pros monitored the air, the paintings, furniture, clothing, and artifacts until finally both the structural and the contents professionals were able to report a job well done.

All their efforts resulted in no claims for fine arts damages at all.

This one wasn’t one of our cases – it is one we pulled from our research archives, but we thought you might enjoy seeing how creating a team effort with the insured and the insurance carrier allowed the restoration professionals to work within remarkably strict conditions and still produce incredible results.

We’ve encountered very few assignments that were beyond our training and experience – and even then, we found ways to adapt, create, and proceed!

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