Museums

Burst Water Valve Forces the Kirkland Museum to Close Again

A plumbing disaster trashed the Kirkland Museum.
A plumbing disaster trashed the Kirkland Museum. Wes Magyar
A plumbing disaster has forced the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art to close its doors again for the next few weeks; the facility had just reopened after the latest COVID-19 closure with a new show, New Year/New View.

"Kirkland Museum is temporarily closed to the public due to damage from a burst water valve in the wake of the recent polar vortex that froze much of the city," the museum wrote in a February 17 letter to supporters. "The closure is anticipated to last through March."

Staff responded quickly to the break, but the museum is soaked and the Kirkland team is still trying to figure out whether anything was permanently lost.

"Evaluation of the damage is continuing as the Museum dries out, and a staged mitigation is already in process," the letter states. "Most of the damage is to the building, although it is expected some art restoration will be necessary."


While many buildings in Denver struggled with frozen pipes during the recent sub-zero temperatures, the Kirkland's issues are surprising, considering the 38,000-square-foot building just opened to the public in 2018 in a brand-new building.

After shutting down last March and a round of starts and stops, the museum had just reopened last month and announced a string of limited-run shows to entice patrons to return. New Year/New View was scheduled to run through March 14.

“We are heartbroken to have to close again,” says Associate Museum Director Renée Albiston. “After so many months of closure in 2020 due to the pandemic, it was a dream to have visitors exploring our galleries again. I couldn’t be more grateful to the team for their quick reaction to the burst valve.”

To support the museum, and for other ways to explore the collection during the shutdown, go to the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art website.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris