April 23, 2019
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Water damages Brunswick museum housing Maine Civil War hero’s artifacts

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Gen. Joshua Chamberlain

BRUNSWICK, Maine — A board member of the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum on Wednesday described “a terrible scene” after freezing temperatures caused significant water damage in the house museum overnight Friday.

“Water was pouring from the ceiling,” Benet Pols said of the parlor of the Potter Street building, the former residence of the Civil War hero and 19th-century Maine governor. “It was a terrible scene. There was water gushing through the ceiling.”

Pols said the painted ceiling has since collapsed.

Pols said he responded to a call Saturday from the chairman of the board of the Pejepscot Historical Society, which owns the museum, seeking people to help move period furniture and artifacts to a safe location.

On Wednesday, executive director Jennifer Blanchard said staff continued to assess the damage, and had placed no dollar amount on it.

Most of the damage occurred in the parlor and dining room of the museum, where a collection of Chamberlain artifacts is on display, with some furnishings also sustaining damage. No artifacts were damaged, Blanchard said, and Chamberlain’s 1893 Medal of Honor, which was donated to the museum last summer, was not in the building at the time.

The museum, including Chamberlain’s former home, is closed for the winter, and Blanchard said she still anticipates it will reopen on Memorial Day, as scheduled.

The financial implications of the damage remain to be determined, although Blanchard said she would meet with insurance agents Wednesday afternoon. She believes the damage would be covered.

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