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Sleeping with History

Before Hurricane Ike hit, some Houstonians made sure they secured their valuables. Some families have items that have been passed down for 50 or a hundred years.
Well some businesses had their own valuables to worry about. Things that have been around for perhaps millions of years. Bill Stamps tells us how area museum's kept watch during Ike.


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At the Museum of Natural Science, there are kids running or holding mom’s hand in the exact spot where curator Dave Temple slept last month. No…there’s no bed. You see Temple slept on the museum floor the night Ike hit.

“I relocated here and I slept with the mummy just to make sure we didn’t have any leaking.”

The mummy is named Leonardo. They say he’s the most perfectly fossilized plant eating dinosaur ever discovered with almost all of his skin still intact. The discovery channel even did an hour long documentary on him that ran the day after Ike. Leonardo is the museum’s prized possession and so David’s job was to make sure Ike never touched it.

“Up to about 12:30-1:00 I would go up to the roof of the garage and check the winds and see what’s going on, then came down and just went to sleep.”

Not far away at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston they had employees and their families hunkering down there as Judge Emmit likes to say. But part of the deal was they had to work.

Director Peter Marzio says they did a pretty good job too.

“The spouses had done such an incredible job that we gave them checks too.”

Both museums had people watching over specific items or exhibits. Art pieces were moved to more central areas away from windows. But there are some things that just shouldn’t be moved, if at all possible. And that’s why David spent the night on the floor next the mummy. As for the Discovery Channel Documentary…he doesn’t think many Houstonians saw it, because most didn’t have electricity.

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