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All art lovers know Paris’ Louvre Museum, but may not realize that there are more than 250,000 works of art that are not on display in the iconic palace-and-pyramid. These priceless works have been stored at a variety of facilities around Paris, creating an organizational nightmare for the curators who are charged with maintaining the welfare and security of the museum’s unique collection. Collection managers have been particularly concerned about the possibility of water damage; the Seine river is overdue for a centennial flood, and the venerable buildings housing the stored artworks are especially vulnerable.

A new public-private initiative is riding to the rescue with a state-of-the-art consolidated storage facility in Lievin, between Paris and Calais. The remarkable building is a work of art itself, with a vegetation-covered sloping roof that blends into the surrounding landscape. Inside the climate-controlled space are areas for restoration, research, and storage. Construction begins in 2017, with move-in scheduled for 2018…assuming the curators can remember all the places they stashed a quarter-million pieces of art.


Photo © auris – Fotolia