Sandy-damaged South Street Seaport Museum gets $500K from anonymous donor

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03: People walk past a flood damaged pier affected by Superstorm Sandy at South Street Seaport on December 3, 2012 in New York City. South Street Seaport, an area popular with tourists which was about to go through a major redevelopment, suffered severe damage from Hurricane Sandy. Most of the buildings and businesses, including the South Street Seaport Museum, suffered severe flooding and remained closed. According to a new Siena Research Institute poll, most New Yorkers overwhelmingly agree that climate change was behind Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

New York's South Street Seaport Museum was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. While the storm didn't hurt the museum's ships, the museum's historic buildings suffered extensive flood damage, ruining heating, electrical and communications equipment.

Staff and volunteers spent weeks cleaning up the museum after the storm. To completely fix and replace the damaged equipment, and to permanently relocate building systems to upper floors, museum officials anticipate a $22 million renovation.

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A anonymous donor recently made a huge contribution to that expense, sending a $500,000 cheque to the museum to help with repairs.

Another $250,000 has also been donated by supporters to help with the clean-up effort. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation contributed an additional $100,000.

"I am so grateful to everyone who responded to our very real needs," Susan Henshaw Jones, the museum's president, said in a statement. "Their generosity affirms that New Yorkers want the Seaport Museum to survive."

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While the museum reopened last month, in part as "a statement of faith in our mission and community," Jones acknowledged, a formal post-Sandy opening celebration will be held on January 15th.