ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Facing the threat of severe weather and coastal flooding on Friday, the staff at the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Park, located on the shores of Back Creek, elevated exhibits in case water came into the building.

Around 8:30 p.m., they realized the displays were not high enough as the museum took on about 13 inches of water, said Alice Estrada, president and CEO of the museum in the city’s Eastport neighborhood.

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“It was just pouring in,” she recalled.

A half hour later, a group of about 25 volunteers and supporters–prompted by a social media post from a community organizer–showed up to quickly take apart and move the exhibit panels to a higher space. The group also moved a refrigerator from the museum’s catering kitchen, saving the appliance.

“I’m just so humbled to know that we are so beloved by our community, that they would rally like that for us,” Estrada said.

The volunteers wrapped up the job in short order.

“Many hands make light work, and we’re so grateful,” Estrada said. “And to come at that hour was really extraordinary.”

Speaking with WJZ on Saturday, Estrada said she’s still assessing the damage to the museum space.

A new exhibit on the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay, “Our Changing Waterfront,” contains a lot of electronic components, such as a virtual reality boat ride, a holographic waterman and aquariums that represent the past and present of the watershed.

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Estrada hopes there won’t be extensive damage to those elements after they dry out and are cleaned.

Water is still pooling in some places, which is being addressed with sump pumps. When high tide came again Saturday at 1 p.m., water didn’t encroach the building this time, Estrada said.

“I feel like we’re on the downhill,” she said. “Yesterday we just had the perfect storm with the Nor’easeter and the wind and the rains and the tidal anomaly that was so significant and beyond our control. We could not hold it back. We tried.”

Community members have continued to reach out to offer support.

“This is so heartwarming and humbling,” she said.

For now, the museum is closed indefinitely. The building still needs to be professionally cleaned and the exhibits have to be put back together.

And there’s still work to be done clearing debris from the site and a nearby park the museum manages.

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But Estrada said she hopes to open back up in a week.

CBS Baltimore Staff