Irma huffed and it puffed. But it didn’t blow the house down.
The Revs Institute will reopen to the public on Tuesday, Oct. 24, with reservations required, as usual. The reopening will occur five weeks later than the original planned date after our normal August shutdown, but the extra time was required for cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma. It was the most powerful storm to hit Naples and Southwest Florida in more than a decade. But like the Big Bad Wolf of nursery-rhyme lore, Irma failed to inflict serious structural damage on The Revs Institute’s building or its collections of classic cars, library documents or digital photo archives.
There were, to be sure, some anxious thoughts as the Weather Channel played in the background, but at the Museum, storm preparation plans were in place and executed upon well before Irma hit on September 9. Cars were moved to the upper floors of the building and parked nose-to-tail. The preparation efforts are described in the letter below from Scott George, vice president and general manager of the institute.
For now, The Revs Institute team is thankful that it weathered the storm, and looking forward to resuming its mission of displaying and describing the unique transformative role of the automobile in American society.
Here’s the letter from Scott.
Dear Friends of The Revs Institute:
I want to provide an update and thanks to all of you for the many kind words and expressions of concern these past few weeks regarding the effect Hurricane Irma.
As we reported earlier; our dedicated staff and volunteers worked together to help prepare our facility, moving more than 70 of our cars to the upper floors and covering our remaining library and collections with plastic, all just days prior to the storm. We are very fortunate that Irma left us with minor roof damage, which has now been repaired, leaving only tree and landscaping issues to tend to.
This week our cars were returned to their respective places within the galleries and we are making the final preparations for a planned reopening October 24th with our normal schedule of Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays 10-4 p.m., by reservation. A great deal of gratitude is owed to our staff and volunteers for the cleanup efforts and reorganization progress; my colleagues pitched in, once again, as a first-rate team.
During my 28 years with the collection, we have dealt with and prepared for several major storms and each year we review our hurricane procedures for ways to improve our facility as well as our planning and preparations. This year will be no different. While Irma remains fresh in all our minds, conditions in our area continue to improve, and our staff members slowly get their own homes returned to normality, we will be planning and improving for the next emergency. As the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
The Revs Institute team extends sincere best wishes to our neighbors and others in our area, and throughout Florida, who continue to recover from Irma. And of course we wish the best to our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico and Texas as they recover from their own hurricane trials.
We look forward to seeing you again soon at Revs!
Vice President and General Manager
The Revs Institute