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Strasbourg, France to Re-reveal Plans for Notre-Dame Cat...

Strasbourg, France to Re-reveal Plans for Notre-Dame Cathedral

On the thousand-year anniversary of the Notre-Dame Collection Foundation, (the organization that supports Strasbourg, France’s Notre-Dame Cathedral), the foundation’s museum is equipping itself with two new rooms that will hold the drawings and plans for the cathedral, dating back to the middle ages. Inaccessible to the public since 1989, these showpieces will once again be

Strasbourg Notre-Dame Cathedral Facade Strasbourg, France

On the thousand-year anniversary of the Notre-Dame Collection Foundation, (the organization that supports Strasbourg, France’s Notre-Dame Cathedral), the foundation’s museum is equipping itself with two new rooms that will hold the drawings and plans for the cathedral, dating back to the middle ages. Inaccessible to the public since 1989, these showpieces will once again be visible to visitors beginning in November 2015.

The Notre-Dame Collection Foundation possesses a fabulous collection of drawings and plans for the Strasbourg cathedral, dating from the 12th century to the 16th century. Composed of more than twenty rooms, the cathedral is the largest in France and the third largest in Europe, after those in Vienna and Ulm. The drawings in Strasbourg’s collection are particularly impressive due in part to their sophistication, but also to their size: certain drawings stretch to a height of more than 4 meters (roughly 13 feet). They are so large that they cover several scrolls. Their size suggests that these drawings were not only meant as a guide for the architects and construction managers, but that they were also meant to impress the sponsors of the cathedral.

Strasbourg Cathedral 17th Century Drawing by Wenceslas Hollar, France This true graphic treasure was carefully preserved in the archives of the Notre Dame Collection Foundation Museum since 1989. However, on the thousandth anniversary of the Foundation, the Notre Dame Collection decided to make everything public in order to satisfy the interest and curiosity of the public concerning the history of the cathedral.

In order to do this, the museum is taking on the construction of two new rooms. In the first, an interactive digital platform will allow visitors to discover all of the rooms displayed in the plans without any risk of damaging the drawings. In the second room, three or four drawings will be exhibited.

Facade of Strasbourg Cathedral in Strasbourg, France

To balance the preservation of the works, while sharing their heritage, the museum called on the Laboratory of the Museums of France. The organization estimated that the acceptable duration of light exposure for these works is only three hours per week. Furthermore, the drawings exhibited will be changed every six months so that the same drawings are not always viewable. In order to access the exhibit, visitors must sign up at the museum beforehand.

Construction for the two new rooms has seen their costs escalated to 414,000 euros ($454,300). The project was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Society for the Friends of the Strasbourg Cathedral, who financed 100,000 euros ($109,700) of the work. Thanks to this initiative, those who are passionate about the cathedral, or those who are simply curious, can now discover these rare drawings - and the origins of the sumptuous pink Alsacian sandstone Notre-Dame Cathedral.

How does your community bring awareness of its history to the public? Are these efforts successful? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comment area below.

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Image 1 by Yoann Gonthier. Images 2, 3, and data linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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