Housed in a 200-year-old grist mill alongside Brandywine Creek in Chadds Ford, Brandywine River Museum of Art has withstood many floods since it opened in 1971. But this past summer’s deluge from Hurricane Ida was the worst yet. “This flood was at least four feet higher than the prior record,” says Virginia A. Logan, Frolic Weymouth Executive Director and CEO of Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art. “It was catastrophic in the amount of damage to the museum and the nine other buildings we have on our campus.”
All told, the conservancy suffered more than $6 million in cumulative damages. Hardest hit was the museum’s bottom level. Its classrooms, public restrooms, offices, storage and mechanical equipment were completely wiped out.
Fortunately, all the artwork was saved. N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth are among the hundreds of artists showcased at the museum.
At press time, the museum was working toward a late-2021 reopening. Restoration of the museum building is the first focus, followed by flood proofing and evaluation of existing properties on higher elevations. “We’re moving mountains to open doors for our community as quickly as we possibly can,” says Logan. “It’s a lot of work, but we’re always motivated by our mission of wanting to be able to reach the people who are inspired by the work we do.”
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-2700, brandywine.org