COLUMBIA — Duplicate copies of government documents and publications belonging to the State Historical Society of Missouri were the only things damaged in a malfunctioning fire sprinkler head accident in Ellis Library on Wednesday.
Damage was limited to copies of state documents, primarily state agency reports dating from the 1970s to the early 1990s. No "one-of-a-kind materials" were harmed.
According to a press release late Thursday morning: "At no time were any original manuscripts or rare books in danger. Nor was there any threat to the Society's rich art collection that contains scores of works by Missouri's two most famous artists, George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Hart Benton."
Wednesday night, executive director Gary Kremer expressed concern about whether this incident would happen again and whether the same sprinkler system is installed in the Society's art gallery.
"The Society's art gallery and art storage area contains no sprinkler system," Thursday's press release said.
Staff members are working with the university's fire personnel to find and replace any sprinkler heads that could potentially cause another incident.
The Society's staff plans to continue the cleanup process through Thursday, and hopefully will have the storage room cleaned and dried by the end of the week. Regular services at the society will continue despite the ongoing cleaning and restoration efforts.