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Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum closed due to flooding

Vet Museum
Posted at 8:15 AM, Jan 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-15 11:15:11-05

As another round of rain arrives in San Luis Obispo, leaders of the Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum say they are still trying to recover from the last storm.

Following Monday's rainfall, several cabinets and bookshelves at the museum are now destroyed, military uniforms have been drenched in rainwater and the building's infrastructure has critical damage.

Museum Director Bart Topham tells KSBY it will take thousands of dollars to recover.

"The back third of the museum was completely flooded. Water had rushed in from three or four places and was percolating up from the floor in a couple of places," Topham said.

Since 2002, the museum has served as a time capsule, filled with artifacts, photos and countless displays of notable military events dating back hundreds of years. But now, after this week's storm, the museum is now closed with a date of reopening still up in the air.

"It was just shocking and a little bit depressing, but we will get through it," Topham added.

He says all of the museum's carpet and vinyl flooring were also ruined from the rain, adding that he and his team of volunteers are still working to assess additional damages, too.

"We had to move everything away from the walls, there was a lot of standing water behind these cabinets that we had to mop up and dry," said John Molinari, a museum docent.

Ahead of the second round of rain that struck the Central Coast Saturday, Topham says the County of San Luis Obispo's Office of Emergency Services has played a big part in helping to prevent further flooding.

"The County has worked diligently to develop several mitigation efforts with sump pumps, plugging some of the old water lines and sewer lines that were under the flooring," he told KSBY.

The museum has also organized a GoFundMe page to help cover expenses in their long journey to reopening, and both Topham and Molinari say they cannot wait until that day comes.

"I think we are going to be even better. I look forward to what we are going to be in a few months," Molinari said.

"We have been here 21 years and we intend to be here another 21," Topham added.