The mansion’s roof, which had just been through repairs two weeks before the hurricane, suffered the most damage. A large portion of the roof peeled away during the height of the storm, allowing rain to pour into all five levels of the mansion.
The water soaked into the plaster walls and caused extensive damage, softening the plaster and producing conditions ripe for mold growth. The water also soaked into the plaster’s wood lathe structure, causing the wood to swell and the subsequent movement to shift and crack the plaster.
Other parts of the mansion grounds also sustained some damage, though not as extensive as the main house. The most obvious damage was in the gardens where the 148-year-old heritage magnolia trees lost large portions of their top canopies, but all five weathered the storm relatively well.
The museum was closed for sixteen days after the hurricane. During this time, the museum experienced an estimated revenue loss of $18,000-$20,000, counting lost admission fees, two canceled weddings, and the cancellation of the final Jazz at the Museum concert.
The Bellamy Mansion Museum appreciates the continued support of community members, local businesses, and other organizations. The museum has been open since September 27th and welcomes people to come see the restoration process in action.
If you would like to support the Bellamy Mansion Museum in the wake of Hurricane Florence, there are several ways you can help. Once way is to donate by mail, phone, or online at www.bellamymansion.org/donate. Another way to is to join the museum as a member of Friends of the Bellamy Mansion, where membership fees help fund the museum and the various free events hosted by the mansion. Finally, you can help by spreading word that the museum is open and come visit us yourself!
Some of the upcoming events at the Bellamy Mansion Museum include the Jingle Belles Holiday Tea and the Christmas Stroll Through the Past. If you’d like to learn more about these events and more, please visit www.bellamymansion.org/upcoming-events.
Written by Bellamy Mansion intern and UNCW English Major Caitlyn Dark.