No one was hurt and no art was damaged, though the ceiling is a historic, original part of the building that was built in 1926.
“On Tuesday morning, around 11 a.m., we had a party of staff who were about to tour some clients around the ballroom,” said the museum’s chief financial officer Gareth Nevitt, “and luckily, they were standing outside.
“But there was a huge bang and a crash.”
About a third of the ornamental, decorative ceiling — comprised of hollow wooden beams — fell, he said.
“The building is structurally safe, so we’re not worried about that,” Nevitt said. “The damage is contained within that one room.”
The grand ballroom is used as a rental space for events, and September is a particularly busy time for the art museum, he said.
“There are a lot of events including fundraisers, a lot of nonprofit fundraising events,” Nevitt said. “So, we’re working with all of our clients to understand their exact needs.”
The museum also has other rooms and spaces available for rent.
“Where we can relocate them [clients], we’re doing that.”
Building contractors completed “environmental testing” Thursday and found no hazardous materials in the ceiling debris. Nevitt said structural engineers also determined that the damage is only to the decorative elements of the ceiling and the rest of the ballroom is structurally sound.
There’s no estimate for when the ceiling will be repaired as contractors are still trying to figure out what caused the decorative beams to fall.