Friday, May 29, was a day like no other. If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. I was moving tables and chairs on the fourth floor, setting up for a big event we were hosting in the library when I heard a crash. I turned around and the sound system guys were looking over the balcony. I looked to where the very tall and heavy exhibit panels had just been standing and the top was gone. I said, with a great deal of disbelief, “Did it fall over the balcony?!” One of the guys said, “Yes. It’s on the wire.” I ran to the balcony. What I saw was unbelievable.
As regular readers of this blog probably know, Dunbar Library is home to a 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction that hangs in its atrium. The top panel of our exhibit had fallen off the balcony onto the guide wire that helps secure the Flyer. It was hanging over the wire like a sheet on a line, drying in the summer sun. Although they may not look it, our black exhibit panels are quite heavy. The fabric on the plane was starting to wrinkle and the wing tip was lower than normal. In my mind, all I could see was the flyer crashing to the ground.
Physical Plant was called and came right away. They assessed the situation calmly and got to work. It took about an hour, but they got the panels off the wire thanks to the strength and courage of Chris (Physical Plant Superman) who went up about 20 feet in a lift. After some tense moments, the panels were brought down to the floor with no damage and the plane shifted back into place. Disaster was averted and all was well.
To the student who was sitting in the atrium under the plane when the panels came crashing over the balcony, I hope your nerves have settled down. And I hope you weren’t studying for a test!
And to Chris and all of the crew from Physical Plant who came to our rescue, thank you!
All in a day’s work.
– Dawne Dewey