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The Steamboat Bertrand museum at DeSoto National Wildlife Resuce was not damaged during recent flooding.

Damage to roads caused by Missouri River floodwaters forced the closure of the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, but its buildings are safe, an official said Thursday.

“It’s not like 2011, when we had to move the (Steamboat Bertrand) artifacts out,” said Tom Cox, director of the refuge. “We have not had to evacuate the visitor center or our headquarters building. The only significant damage has been to our roads.”

The refuge will remain closed until engineers are able to assess the damage.

Officials also want to monitor the spring surge on the river, Cox said, while staff members continue their work.

During the 2011 flood, the unearthed treasures from the steamboat were hurriedly packed and shipped to higher ground. It took about three years for them to return to display.

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There were no casualties when the steamer hit a snag and sank on April 1, 1865, in 8 feet of water near what is now Missouri Valley, Iowa. The crew put down the gangplank, and everyone walked to shore .

Over the years, the boat sank into the mud and all but disappeared until a pair of treasure hunters unearthed it in the 1960s. The mud and pressure had preserved enough of the items so well that the federal government saved, cleaned and restored almost everything from canned goods to children’s toys to cannonballs.

The Bertrand exhibit is said to be the largest array of Civil War-era items anywhere. The items are displayed behind museum glass in a climate-controlled wing of the visitor center.

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kevin.cole@owh.com, 402-444-1272