The Louvre Museum in Paris is undergoing major cleaning and restoration amid its longest closure in decades.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that hundreds of museum staff and other workers are contributing to a massive project that includes cleaning exhibits and adding tens of thousands of explainer plaques around the building.
“For some projects, the lockdown has allowed us to do in five days what would have previously taken five weeks,” said museum curator Sébastien Allard in an interview with the Times.
At least two wings are undergoing major renovations, according to the newspaper, while other exhibits will receive cleanings. The museum plans to expand its offerings to guests once the facility is reopened, including yoga classes and acting workshops.
“It’s a callout to say the museum is living, and that people have the right to do these things here,” one of the museum's deputy directors, Marina-Pia Vitali, told the Times.
The Louvre closed in March "until further notice," citing the COVID-19 pandemic. Museum officials told the Times that the restoration efforts are expected to be completed by the end of February, but a timeline for the museum's reopening has not been announced.
France remains beset by the pandemic and has seen case numbers begin to rise again in January following a drop in December and a massive surge in November that at its peak reached more than 80,000 new cases per day.