Hurricane Matthew Recovery Update #18

We’re Re-Opening With a Celebration!

After almost six months of recovery efforts from Hurricane Matthew, the Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center on Hatteras Island will reopen April 11, 2017. The entire facility was flooded in October with water levels ranging from a few inches to over three feet—a first since the museum was founded in 1986.

“There was never any thought of not reopening,” said Carl Bornfriend, Executive Director. “It was simply a matter of figuring out what needed to be done and then getting to work.”

The “work” presented some major challenges.

Damage was so severe that a professional cleaning company was called in. The organization, which deals with post-disaster recovery all over the United States, removed walls, sanitized the building, and dried it with massive, heavy duty fans. Once that was done, volunteers, staff, and contractors could begin putting the building back together. Despite the difficulties, Staff realized the recovery efforts also presented opportunities.

Bornfriend smiled as he described the progress. “We’ve had an amazing amount of help. Just days after the hurricane, more than two dozen Coast Guard volunteers jointed our staff, friends, and local volunteers to pull up and remove the soggy carpet—a HUGE undertaking. The carpet formed a small mound in front of the building that soon grew to a small mountain as other water damaged items were piled on top. At times it looked like a war zone.”

The Outer Banks Community Foundation awarded the museum a grant to assist with repair/replacement efforts that will greatly reduce recovery time if the museum has significant water damage in the future.

Exhibit cases now all have rollers as well as easily accessible openings to remove artifacts quickly and reduce mold growth. Glass has been replaced with non-breakable materials, walls replaced with the latest mitigation methods, and dehumidifies added.

The greatest opportunities have been the chance to replace and redesign exhibits to showcase recent donations while also maximizing air flow and improving traffic patterns. Long-held dreams for a number of new exhibits have also become reality, and new signage that incorporates QR codes linked to smart phones will greatly increase educational opportunities for visitors.

“We have designated the week of April 18-23 as our THANK YOU OPEN HOUSE for Dare County.” said Bornfriend. “The out pouring of assistance during the recovery process has been phenomenal—from physical labor to recovery contributions and moral support, our community helped make it possible for us to not only recover from the hurricane but to make the museum even better. We hope local folks will have an opportunity to visit any time during that week—admission free—and help us celebrate our reopening.”

For more information, contact the museum at 252-995-4440

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