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Hall of State winter damage

Posted by Dennis H 
Hall of State winter damage
February 26, 2021 03:13PM
Apparently there was some damage to the building and some of the archived material.

Dear Supporters of Dallas Historical Society and the Hall of State,

You probably have seen the most recent article in the Dallas Morning News regarding the status of our home, the Hall of State. We are reaching out to reassure you that while the building does have significant damage, the collection has not been impacted at the same level. The minimal impact to the collection is in the process of being remediated, and we are monitoring any residual impacts very closely. Rest assured, the collection is being well tended and is in good shape.

While we were very lucky that the collection only received minor impact from the storm, the conservation costs for those, of course, were not anticipated. We would appreciate any monetary help you might be able to provide. Next week, you will have the ability to make any contributions through our web page. Thank you for considering this request.

We appreciate your continued support and concern during this disturbing, historic event, and we will keep you updated on our progress and the state of the building.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.


Karl Chiao
Executive Director
Dallas Historical Society

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2021 03:16PM by Dennis H.
Re: Hall of State winter damage
February 27, 2021 05:47AM
Thanks for posting this Dennis. It is good to know that the collection is not damaged, or at least is minimally so and that is being handled by the curators successfully. I saw the DMN article, and that made it seem that the collection was endangered, or at least made that seem to be the case to me.

Dave McNeely
Re: Hall of State winter damage
March 01, 2021 08:19PM
Here's a Vimeo video on the damage to the Hall of State
Hall of State water damage from Arctic Storm 2021
Re: Hall of State winter damage
March 09, 2021 06:47AM
Dennis H Wrote:
> Here's a Vimeo video on the damage to the Hall of
> State
> Hall of State
> water damage from Arctic Storm 2021

Horrible mess. I hope they launch an outside audit into how this was allowed to happen. One thing is for sure it is clear that no one should be donating historical artifacts if this is how they store them.
Re: Hall of State winter damage
March 10, 2021 08:31PM
Well, it is a mess. The Hall of State is a city owned building. It depends on taxpayer funding, which may partially explain why it didn't have backup power like a hospital, for example. BUT, big but, when the maintenance personnel knew the power went out, someone should have shut off the water and drained the lines, like a homeowner does. It would probably be a more complicated task for a building like that, but it should be doable. There should even be a protocol in place to make sure that is one of the responses with power loss in winter. It is at my house. And living where I do, I keep RV antifreeze, the kind for the potable water system, on hand to safeguard the toilets and traps. When I go out of town in winter, I do the full Sherman, by shutting off the water, draining the pipes, and filling the traps and toilets with the antifreeze. I make sure I have the propylene glycol variety, not alcohol, because I don't want to put a flammable, volatile liquid into the system.

But I do think curators and conservators are good at what they do. The word is that the vast majority of the artifacts will be ok. The building? I hope insurance covers it, but probably not. For most homeowner's insurance policies, water damage from pipes freezing due to failure to protect the building properly is excluded. It probably is for a building like that, also. The city may even be self insured for all I know. What that means of course, is not insured, but expecting to sustain any losses out of pocket. But the city probably doesn't really have the cash reserves to be properly self insured.

How much total financial loss did Texas suffer because of its bizarre electrical system? And of course, how many lives lost?

Dave McNeely
Re: Hall of State winter damage
March 24, 2021 12:26PM
My first thought also, why did someone not just shut off the water? From the videos it appears the burst pipes were in the ceiling and those likely the fire suppression sprinkler system. Finding someone with the key to the valve would not have prevented the freezing or some bursts but without pressure there might have been some random drips but not the river of water flowing down the front steps and into the basement. It also appears quite a few artifacts were on open display in the public areas.

The paper artifacts in the basement are contained in rolling sealable fireproof cases but I don't know if closed daily when the building is not open or if automatically in such a catastrophic event. Several years ago there was another flooding situation, I don't recall if from a burst pipe in the lower level or if ground water overflow from the heavy rains, but a number of artifacts and maps were left out unsecured overnight and damaged. There was also the incident where a now former director carried a cardboard box of the most historic artifacts to a dinner (at the Anatole I believe), consumed a few cocktails, then went to his car to leave, set the box on the roof, and drove away. Fortunately someone turned them in to lost and found, There was also the discovery of theft of artifacts right under the nose of the staff.

From my short stint on the education board many years ago I realized the main responsibility of the director is to plan for the annual awards banquet. New individual donations of artifacts are not accepted unless accompanied by sufficient funds for cataloging and preservation. However the DHS did pay a substantial sum for a large State Fair collection recently.

It is frustrating to do research at the Hall of State, The antiquated card system fails to locate specific items and the vertical file folders are in disarray. Substantial fees are required for copies. The oversize physical artifacts were stored in the Automobile Building attic when I saw them 20 years ago scattered about without accession identification. I had my choice of three rocking chairs and two spinning wheels that might have been the property of John and Margaret Bryan. Not sure where those artifacts were moved but by not being on premises requires advance notice to view and they may not be able to locate the ones requested.
Re: Hall of State winter damage
March 25, 2021 02:36PM
Hall of State just finished a $14 million dollar renovation which was completed only a couple months ago. The public was never invited to see it. Only politicians and civil board members saw it. The new price tag to repair the damage will be another $3 million for the Hall of State and $2 million to repair the Cotton Bowl. Almost all the buildings at Fair Park were damaged from the cold weather.

For those of you wondering, there was no classic ice storm associated with this event in Dallas. The trees did not ice up and weigh heavy. It was a light snow event with a texture that would not make a snowball. Light, dry and fluffy. The damage issue is squarely one of human faults to not protect physical plant assets in Dallas against a couple nights of cold.

With the passage of time since my post on March 9, 2021, I am more concerned since a few weeks have passed. Very little attention to detail with video surfacing of individuals mishandling paper materials without gloves and just a disorganized ramshackle appearance to the area which is supposed to serve as a secure archive for Dallas most fundamental historical documents.
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