Oct 18, 2021 - News
Flood prevention is part of Crystal Bridges' planning
Screen shot of Flood Factor's satellite image of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and potential flood patterns.
Flood Factor's satellite image of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and potential flood patterns. Courtesy: Flood Factor.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is at extreme risk of flooding in the next 15 years, according to Flood Factor.

  • The website, developed by First Street Foundation, is designed to help the public learn more about flood risk in their areas.

Yes, but: Before the museum was built, extensive hydrology studies were performed that projected 100-year, 500-year and 1,000-year flood events.

  • This led engineers to design a system of weirs that regulate water flow through the ponds and streams on museum grounds, Diane Carroll, a spokesperson for the museum, tells Axios.

Why it matters: Crystal Bridges is home to some of the country's most iconic and cherished works of art and is a cultural anchor in NWA.

A rendering of Crystal Bridges after its expansion looking south.
A rendering of Crystal Bridges after its planned 100,000 square-foot expansion, looking south. Courtesy: Safdie Architects

Driving the news: As the climate continues to warm over the next few decades, the flood risk situation in the U.S. will grow more dire, a recent report from First Street Foundation warns.

  • Also, Crystal Bridges announced this year a major expansion that will add 100,000 square feet, providing more opportunity for water to breach its buildings.

What they're saying: "The expansion provides the opportunity for us to review new data on flooding and extreme weather events," Carroll wrote in an email.

  • Engineering plans for the expansion include additional check dams to reduce water flow to the site, adding more water control to the current weir system.
"We have prepared for extreme weather events from the beginning — as a museum that preserves masterworks of American art, it’s essential that we always consider extreme scenarios and ensure that measures are in place to mitigate them."
— Diane Carroll, spokesperson for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
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