PRESERVING THE PRICELESS PAST

Jan 01, 2013

By Bob Komsic

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Tourists visiting the Sistine Chapel next Christmas can expect a slightly different experience than in years or centuries past, one that just might send chills up their spine.

Visitors on their way in to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece will step into an area with stronger air conditioning and a new vacuum-cleaning system that sucks up dust from their clothes.

The Vatican Museum’s director plans to renovate existing climate controls and install the new cleaning system by the end of 2013.

The goal is to better protect Michelangelo’s fresco paintings from grime created by the thousands of visitors – as many as 20,000 – who pass through the chapel daily.

It will do it by laying a shoe-cleaning carpet along the hundred metres leading to the entrance by installing suction vents on either side of the route to remove dust from clothing and by lowering the temperature to remove body heat and humidity.

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