Nearly 1,000 priceless Revolutionary War era historical objects and documents were damaged last week. Antique furniture is now being sprayed in an attempt to stop the mold, and soggy piles of documents from the late 1700's have been frozen in an attempt to preserve them. Meanwhile, state bureaucrats are involved in a high-level blame game.
A New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection official defended efforts to protect the museum collection at the state-owned Steuben House in River Edge, where rising floodwaters from the recent nor'easter caused an estimated $1.5 million in damages. State legislators and members of the Bergen County Historical Society, which owns the collection, are blaming the department's Division of Parks and Forestry, which operates the house and is responsible for securing items during a storm.
Amy Cradic, assistant commissioner of natural and historic resources with the DEP, said the on-site employee, Andrew Anderson, spent two days moving furniture and other artifacts to the second floor and the attic. "We took appropriate action based on our experience with past floods and the information available about the storm," she said. "It was an extraordinary weather event."
Sadly, that was not enough. There was sufficient room to move the items to a higher floor in the house. Tim Adriance of the historical society said, "There were plenty of volunteers available." Members of the historical society even offered to help April 15 during the storm, but the Division of Parks and Forestry said that no assistance was necessary.
Once the storm was over, the finger-pointing began.
You can read more about this sad story in the NorthJersey.com web site at http://tinyurl.com/2d9a37.