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UPDATE | 3:27 p.m.: D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services tweets that the Phillips House at the museum incurred about $250,000 in damage. The Phillips Collection cannot confirm that figure right now.
Though the museum is closed for the time being, its many part-time staffers don’t need to worry: They will be paid for their normally scheduled hours for the duration that the museum is closed.
UPDATE | 12:52 p.m.: According to two sources inside the museum, the running concern this morning was not fire damage but rather water damage. Artworks were exposed to between 5 and 15 minutes of sprinkler water, but employees (who did not wish to be named) and museum officials alike said that all the artworks were fine. A staffer speculated that the sprinklers did more damage inside the Phillips House than the fire.
UPDATE | 11:39 a.m.: Dorothy Kosinski, the museum’s director, tells Arts Desk that no art was damaged. The third and fourth floor areas beneath the roof fire contain offices and no art, and art from the first and second floors was removed immediately. Those works are now safely stashed in the museum’s Goh Annex and Sant Building, where conservators are checking them over.
Kosinski said that earlier reports that artworks were damaged were inaccurate. “All of the artwork was removed in a very timely fashion,” she said. “There was no significant damage from water—certainly not from fire.”
Looks like the art at the Phillips Collection is safe. “Nothing has incurred significant damage,” writes the museum’s Cecilia Wagner, but museum conservators are currently evaluating the artwork. That doesn’t seem to rule out less serious damage; I’ll keep updating this space with details. Wagner writes that “all artwork is safe and secure.”
The roof fire, Wagner writes, was related to the museum’s ongoing renovation of the Phillips House part of the museum.
No one was injured, she writes, and the building is being inspected. The building is closed until further notice, and tonight’s Phillips After 5 has been postponed.
Photo by Michael E. Grass.