Hagley Museum and Library reopens following historic flooding | Delaware First Media
Delaware Public Media

Hagley Museum and Library reopens following historic flooding

Sep 14, 2021

Wilmington’s Hagley Museum and Library has reopened after cleaning up flood damage caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida earlier this month.

Executive director Jill MacKenzie says Hagley suffered extensive damage from the historic flooding that hit northern Delaware September 1 and 2.

“I’ve been at Hagley for a very long time. And back in 1999, we had the remnants of Hurricane Floyd - which brought about 17 feet of flood. Then on May 1 of 2014 I think a lot of people remember that flood...we had about 21 feet," said MacKenzie. "But this was historic...we had 23.1 feet of water come down into this Brandywine Valley.” 

MacKenzie says they haven’t finished assessing the damage, but the current estimate is $2 million.

“I was down in the Powder Yard about 7:30, which was about two hours before the River crested. And when I went down toward our Visitors Center, the road was under water...the main road and you could actually see waves lapping over the top of the roadway. And so it was probably up about 4-5 feet on the Visitors Center. And we got 8 feet of water in the basement of the Visitors Center,” she said. 

MacKenzie notes the eight feet of water equaled about 180-thousand gallons and had to be pumped out before starting damage assessment.

E.I. du Pont Garden is among the spots open to tour at Hagley Museum as its recovers from flooding in Sept. 2021
Credit Hagley Museum and Library

Hagley Museum is restarting operations with a special "Historic Home and Garden" tour - and offering reduced admission because of the limited access to the property.

While clean-up continues, visitors can tour the Eleutherian Mills Residence, E.I. du Pont Garden, and Hagley Barn.

The flooding also forced postponement of the official opening of Hagley’s new Nation of Inventors exhibition this week - but a curated display of patent models involved is available in the Hagley Library.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.