McWane Science Center, Birmingham’s hands-on discovery museum and IMAX, is reopening today after flooding forced it to close.
On Oct. 13, an old sprinkler head malfunctioned in a storage area of the building’s fourth floor. Since it was a malfunction, no alarm was triggered, and during that time, water poured into the storage area and began seeping down to the other levels of the museum, said Katie Baason, director of Marketing.
According to Baason, the carpets and walls of the storage area, special events center, artifact collections and aquatic center were damaged and have since been replaced, but no exhibitions, artifact collections or aquariums were damaged. The museum’s insurance is covering the cost of the damages as well as lost revenues during the closure.
To make the best of this unfortunate situation, the museum staff has used the closing as an opportunity to complete an exhibition renovation that had begun in the summer. On the main level of the museum, the former “Just Mice Size” exhibition has been removed, and the space has been opened up for a number of new temporary exhibitions on loan from SciQuest, a museum in Huntsville that closed in early 2016.
“With all of the safety concerns addressed, the staff are ready to be open and welcome guests back to McWane,” said Amy Templeton, president and CEO of the museum.
Since opening in 1998, McWane Science Center has welcomed millions of visitors to see, hear, touch and experience the wonder of science at one of the South’s most distinctive venues. The museum has resumed normal business hours: weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. The special events center, which received the brunt of the damage, is still closed and is anticipated to reopen in early December.
For more information about the exhibitions or events at the museum, visit McWane Science Center.