Fire breaks out in Museum of History in Kurt Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, Washington
The Aberdeen Museum of History has housed many Cobain artifacts, including a couch he slept on, photographs, and more
On Saturday, June 9, a fire destroyed the Aberdeen Museum of History in Kurt Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, Washington, which included items from his early life, reports NPR.
The Cobain-dedicated exhibit included several artifacts and memorabilia associated with the Nirvana frontman, including a couch he slept on at a friend's home for the fall of 1985, a bench from outside his home in Seattle, posters, artwork, signed band T-shirts and more. Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic took to Twitter to express his grief and said that he hopes everyone is safe.
This is terrible. Hope people are safe. https://t.co/ZWvwjr2Il2— Krist Novoselić (@KristNovoselic) June 9, 2018
Fortunately, no one was in the building at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported.
According to the NPR report, it took 77 firefighters 10.5 hours to suppress the fire, and an investigation into its cause began yesterday (Wed, 13 June). Aberdeen Fire Chief Tom Hubbard stated that the fire started from within the building, a cause most typically related to heating or electrical malfunctions, so it rules out the possibility of arson.
The armory, where the fire began, was home to several other organizations besides the museum. The museum, like the riverside city of about 16,400 people where it's located, was relatively small.
"The museum was just a little gem," Hubbard said. "People would travel from all over to see it." According to a report in the Washington state paper The Daily World, recovery processes are ongoing at the armory building.
Sad to hear about the fire at the Aberdeen Museum of History. Here are a couple pics of the Kurt Cobain Exhibit and one of the old Stewart Field (Aberdeen HS stadium) sign I took when I was down there last September. Horrible loss for the community. pic.twitter.com/rsRliBPbmA— Ryland Spencer™ (@RylandSpencer) June 11, 2018
The museum is a regular stop listed on Nirvana fan blogs, along with the several homes Cobain lived in during his unstable childhood. The city has several small monuments, both official and unofficial, scattered around, which are popular visitor spots. As NPR rightly points out, Cobain didn't necessarily have a good relationship with his hometown, which is about 80 miles southwest of Seattle. He once called likened it to Twin Peaks, but "without the excitement," according to Everett True's 'Nirvana: The Biography.'
In 2005, the city added a "Come As You Are" plaque to hang below "Welcome to Aberdeen" on its city sign, as a reference to the 1991 smash hit by Nirvana from the definitive grunge album 'Nevermind'. As the Guardian points out, in 2014, the city celebrated its first Kurt Cobain Day.
It's unclear if all of the museum's Cobain-related items have been completely destroyed. Hubbard says specialists have begun going into the building to salvage artifacts and historical documents, and museums from across the country have offered resources and help.
"Aberdeen has been faced with some big fires or disasters, and we all just really pull together and get through it," he says.