2-Story Flood Waters Leave $6 Million in Damage to Brandywine River Museum

A flooded facilities building at the Brandywine River Museum
Image via Nicole Kindbeiter, Brandywine River Museum.
A flooded facilities building at the Brandywine River Museum

The stirred up Brandywine floodwaters from Hurricane Ida reached two stories and raged 33,000 cubic feet per second by the time they reached the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, writes Anthony R. Wood for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

As the waters crashed into the museum, they flooded the lower level to the ceiling. All 10 buildings in the complex were damaged.

The museum, home base to the Wyeth art collection, remains closed after 10 weeks.  Thankfully there were no injuries and no damage to the Wyeth paintings and other artwork.

Even so, the Brandywine River Museum, built in a flood plain, is looking at a minimum of $6 million in structural and equipment damage.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Virginia A. Logan, executive director of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art.

The Conservancy has set up a relief fund since neither insurance nor disaster assistance will come close to covering repairs, Logan said.

Also caught by surprise was the U.S. Geological Survey, said Gerald Kauffman Jr., who did a hydraulic analysis of the Brandywine at Chadds Ford.

They “never anticipated this extreme of flooding,” said Kauffman, director of the University of Delaware’s Water Resources Center.

Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer for details on why such severe flooding occurred.


This drone footage of the museum taken in 2018 before Hurricane Ida shows how it would be vulnerable to flooding.