The flood of 2010 threatened, but did not damage the priceless collection of Native and Colonial artifacts housed in the at once diminutive and significant Indian and Colonial Research Center in Old Mystic. The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center rescued the collection then, and it has remained in the climate-controlled museum, safe and sound ever since.
But the building did not fare as well as the centuries-old assemblage of Native and Colonial artifacts; 18 inches of water took its toll on the structure.
And on Sunday, the museum was once again tested, now by the weight of a downed tree toppled by the winds from Hurricane Irene.
Center president Joan Cohn has not yet been inside the building so no real assessment has been made though it appears not to have caused significant damage.
“We have really struggled,” Cohn said of the center’s efforts to find funding to rebuild following the damaging flood.
Between raffles and other fundraising efforts—and a months-long “fight” with FEMA—Cohn said center raised close to $30,000; $11K was raised among members and the local community with FEMA kicking in, “finally,” $16,756.
But since the total cost of the rebuild is estimated to run $50,000, they’re $20K shy.
And now with the latest weather-related incident yet to be dealt with, donations have never been more desperately needed.
“It would be wonderful if this ended up helping us by [securing] new donations,” Cohn said.
The tree in question is not on center property, Cohn said, it is owned by neighbors and “very generous” center members Rick and Susan Arms. Cohn said she hasn’t been in contact with the Arms who she believes are out of town, but she said she suspected “they’ll be very helpful,” with the removal of the tree. At that point, Cohn said, any real damages to the building can be assessed.
“We believe it’s OK; we hope it’s OK,” she said. “We’ll know soon.”
The ICRC, established in 1965, is housed in a historic Main Street building, home in the 1850’s to the Mystic National Bank. According to the center’s website, the building contains a number of original architectural features including the bank’s barred windows and vault as well as grained woodwork and the iron-faced entrance doors.
It is a designated a Connecticut State Registered Genealogical and Research Center.
To learn more about the non-profit center or to make a tax-deductible donation, Cohn said to visit the center's web site at www.indianandcolonial.org.