On a recent rainy day, I found myself wandering down to the lower level of Central Library to browse the AV collection. I stumbled upon Louvre City which was a great find. This film looks at the work of the operations employees at the Louvre - moving paintings, cataloging and labeling statues, researching works, and developing exhibits. I think the neatest part of the movie was watching the museum staff move massive oil paintings. We see staff unrolling and stretching an enormous oil painting, and later using dozens of men to lift and move the painting into place so that it can be hung. They didn't show how it was hung, but surely that was another huge and labor intensive feat. I have wondered how the mammoth paintings in art museums are moved before, and now I see that it takes a great amount of manual labor!
The back of the case from the DVD states, "Louvre City is a celebration of the ordinary processes of work in an extraordinary setting." The collection at the Louvre is phenomenal by any standard, being one of the foremost art museums in the world. It is easy to forget or lack understanding of the background work that goes in to making this museum what it is. The movie is titled Louvre City because of the great number of people who work there - over 2,000 according to the museum's website. There are so many people it is almost a city in itself, and they are all devoted to sustaining and sharing the museum's collection.
Sometimes I talk to patrons about the library and they are surprised by the number of background things that have to happen for our operations to run smoothly. Staff at public service desks are our front line but they are supported by the work of many other people who are not seen by the public on a day to day basis. This movie shared with me the same type of insight about this museum; I never realized the amount of work and logistics that went into making a museum what it is. I appreciate museums all the more now for putting in all this time and energy to preserve artifacts for future generations to enjoy and learn from. If you are someone with an interest in museums and/or art I think you would probably really enjoy this interesting movie!