The Brandywine River Museum of Art, temporarily closed since suffering severe flooding during Hurricane Ida at the beginning of September, has announced it will reopen Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving.
Museum officials emphasized that all of the art across its 15-acre site was unharmed by the storm. However, the museum’s lowest level — containing a lecture room, classroom, offices and more — had significant flood damage.
No paintings were stored or displayed on the lower levels of the museum — precisely because of the prospect of flooding — but there was major damage to building systems as the floodwaters filled the museum’s first floor. Some 10 other buildings on the Brandywine site, were damaged by Ida, officials said. Wyeth family studios and the Kuerner Farm were spared any damage, they added.
Beginning Nov. 26, officials said, the museum will be open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed on Christmas Day), with the Brandywine’s O-gauge model train display on view through Jan. 9, 2022.
Also returning — although in a limited capacity this year — will be the Brandywine’s “Critter” ornaments that will decorate the holiday trees in the museum’s atrium. Since 1971, the ornaments have been handcrafted by volunteers using only natural materials such as teasel, pinecones, acorns, eggshells, flowers, and seed pods.
All of the ornaments for this year’s upcoming sale — over 8,200 new creations — were destroyed in the Ida flooding. But volunteers dug in and created a slew of new ornaments.
Meanwhile, the Brandywine has assembled a team of experts and skilled craftspeople — from structural and electrical engineers to architects, project managers, and workers — to ready the museum for its holiday reopening. Months of work remain, however, before the museum is fully restored to its prior functionality.