Clemson University’s geology museum has temporarily closed after a sprinkler pipe burst and caused its ceiling to collapse.
Museum officials said the Bob Campbell Geology Museum flooded when temperatures in the low teens caused an air compressor to malfunction. That resulted in a pipe bursting in the celing above several exhibits. Garden Director Patrick McMillan told South Carolina Radio Network the damaged ceiling then collapsed.
“Thousands of gallons of water and wet insulation crashed on top of everything,” he said.
The museum, which is free and open to the public, is located on the grounds of the South Carolina Botanical Garden. It is the only museum in the state dedicated to geology and paleontology and is visited by roughly 25,000 people per year, according to the school.
“Lots of things got wet,” McMillan said. “Most of the damage we suffered really is infrastructure. It’s the attic, the ceiling.”
He said it will take several weeks before the museum can reopen.
The botanical garden was severely damaged in 2013 when heavy storms dumped 11 inches of rain in just a few hours and caused flooding. The garden made infrastructure changes to control drainage and runoff. McMillan said, as a result, the garden sustained only minor damage when Hurricane Joaquin poured heavy rain water across the Upstate two years later.