Annapolis Maritime Museum to Rise Again from Hurricane Damage
Though its main facility, the McNasby Oyster Company building, was severely damaged by hurricane Isabel, the Annapolis Maritime Museum will pick up the pieces and come back to life bigger and better, according to Museum Board Chairman Buck Buchanan.
"We had a large crew of volunteers help remove all the important artifacts, exhibits and resource materials to the second floor before the storm," Buchanan reports. "These articles survived high and dry and are now in temporary storage."
The front section of the McNasby building was the worst hit, with three gaping holes in the north facing wall and another large hole in the wall facing Back Creek. "It looks like a 74-gun man o’ war fired a couple of broadsides at us," says Museum Director Jeff Holland. Officials from the City of Annapolis, which owns the property and leases it to the museum, have made an initial assessment that while the building sustains an estimated $1.5 million in damage, the building can be rebuilt.
"The McNasby building is the last vestige of our once thriving seafood packing industry," says Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer. "It is not just part of our history, it represents our maritime heritage and how our citizens earned their living. We need to preserve this building. It provides an important link to our past and our future."
The record 7.5-foot tidal surge and six-foot wave action caused by the estimated 65-mph winds tore the entire dock from its pilings and washed up on the end of Second Street. The 600-square-foot Barge House was flooded about knee deep, and the total damage is currently under assessment.
"The board of directors had already been planning to remodel the McNasby building and the Barge House, as well as establish a display kiosk on City Dock," Buchanan explained. "Our goal is and always was to build community pride and respect for the Bay’s ecology. We will provide a focal point for the visitors’ experience as well as a resource for educating young and old residents about their exciting maritime heritage. This is just a temporary setback in achieving these goals."
Volunteer crews worked throughout the weekend to clear the museum campus of debris with help from the City of Annapolis Department of Public Works and the National Guard.
The Museum Board of Directors is now charting a course for restoring the McNasby building and the rest of the museum campus, and are meanwhile finding alternative sites to hold events, lectures and other activities scheduled for the upcoming weeks.
"We’re going to need a lot of help with this project," Buchanan says. "We’re looking for temporary office space, office equipment, volunteers, and, of course, donations. But more than that, we need the support of the citizens of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, because this museum belongs to us all."
Donations can be mailed to the Annapolis Maritime Museum, PO Box 4488, Annapolis, MD 203. For more information, call 0 295-0104.