The Robert Mills House was damaged in a summer storm that blew through Columbia on the evening of Sunday, August 5.
The historic building's east chimney was hit by lightning, which caused bricks to fall into the house forcing a cloud of ash out of the fireplace and into several rooms. The damaged chimney was secured by Monday afternoon, and repairs were begun. Out of an abundance of caution, tours of the house were cancelled on Tuesday.
We are humbled and thankful for the incredible response of the museum community in Columbia who rallied to help us clean up yesterday while the house was closed. Employees and volunteers from the South Carolina State Museum and McKissick Museum spent hours inside and outside the house cleaning.
The phenomenon of museums helping each other is not new. The museums in Columbia are all members of the South Carolina Federation of Museums, and the SCFM has had a long history of cross-organizational assistance. Each year, SCFM hosts a “white-gloves gang,” which is made of members who go into other member organizations and assist with a myriad of collections-based projects such as rehousing artifacts, inventorying, research, exhibit preparation, etc.
This regular cooperation creates a strong cross-organizational foundation, the benefits of which we saw yesterday when the following folks gave their time to help us out: Robyn Adams, Brian Jirout, Christian Ciccimurri, Dave Ciccimurri, JoAnn Zeise, Sue Kelly, Gary Kelly and Mary Efird. A special shout-out goes to Christian from McKissick and JoAnn from the State Museum who spent the entire day with us!
The museum community in South Carolina is tight, and we're glad to know we can count on each other to help when disaster strikes.
We are happy to report that the Robert Mills House has reopened and tours will be offered per our normal tour schedule.