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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Flood Risk Forces Louvre to Move Hidden Art Collection

By Stephanie Valera. the Weather Channel, October 7, 2013

Tourists walk in the courtyard of the Louvre museum in Paris. France's culture minister announced that the museum, situated near the Seine river, would be transferring its reserve collection out of Paris to avoid the risk of flood damage. (LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
The Louvre Museum in Paris, the world's most famous art museum, plans to move a collection of more than 400,000 hidden artworks to a location in northern France, amid fears that flooding from the nearby River Seine could destroy the pieces forever.
The collection, currently stored underneath the museum in flood-threatened cellars beside the river,will be moved to a location managed by the Louvre in the city of Lens, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of northern France, Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti announced, according to UPI. 
A spokesperson for the Louvre told The Local that of the museum’s roughly 460,000 works of art, only 35,000 were on public display, meaning a significant number of its "reserve collection," which include paintings, sculptures and artifacts, could be at risk in the event of a flood. Paris suffered a disastrous flood in 1910 and French authorities have warned for years of the possibility of another catastrophic deluge.
“Will we have a once-in-a-century flood? That’s a certainty,” senior Paris official Serge Garrigues told Le Monde in March. "The only unknown is 'when.'"
The Louvre’s reserve collection – the largest of its kind in the world – will remain mostly inaccessible to the public but will be available more easily for loans and for visits by researchers, according The Independent. The storage facility will be built near the “Louvre North” branch museum which opened in Lens, a former mining town, last year.
The project, which will cost approximately €60 million (around $81.4 million) will be co-funded by the Nord Pas-de-Calais region, according to RT.
If the River Seine were to rise beyond the record level of 28 feet, reached in 1910, Paris' inhabitants, in addition to the city's timeless artworks, would be in serious danger. To prepare, city officials have devised an emergency action plan, code-named "Operation Evagglo," The Local reported. The plan underwent a large-scale test for responsiveness last December after experts visited parts of the eastern U.S. hit by Hurricane Sandy in October.


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