In August of 2004, the
Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History in
Washington, D.C. experienced catastrophic water damage from a broken
fire sprinkler pipe. Over 20,000 gallons of water poured into the Price
of Freedom exhibit area flooding over 130,000 square feet of the museum.
The scope of work included drying of the water damaged areas,
replacement of all damaged drywall, specialty finishes and displays.
Several creative solutions were required for this project because of the
massive areas that were flooded, the unique construction of the exhibits
and the priceless nature of the museum artifacts. The first creative
solution involved designing a temporary flexible duct system to
distribute drying air from a tractor-trailer mounted 10,000 CFM
desiccant dehumidifier to the water damaged areas. This provided 0%
relative humidity air to dry out the wet areas. There also had to be
expedited coordination of artisans and workers involved in the
reconstruction of the damaged exhibits. An expedited schedule allowed
the project to be completed in less than two months.