ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Covering museums in the Tampa Bay area means we get to show you art pieces from the likes of Auguste Rodin and Claude Monet, but we also get to introduce you to the museum staff responsible for keeping those pieces safe.
People like Ashley Burke, Registrar at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.
"My job is the care of objects in the museum's collection,” said Burke.
Like many of us, Burke was shocked seeing the Cathedral of Notre Dame on fire earlier this week.
"I was in utter disbelief that this could happen to this iconic building, this iconic structure in the history of civilization,” said Burke.
And like many of us, she has a precious photograph of her time there.
"I took my daughter to Notre Dame a little over a year ago because I thought it was important for her to see,” said Burke.
But Burke and other art professionals know something we outside the art world do not. She knows how art is protected, repaired and restored.
"They will go to conservation labs, restoration labs, so the best professionals in the world can bring these things back to the way they were before the fire,” said Burke.
Offering some hope
In fact, the art caretakers At Notre Dame are trained to detect even the slightest of changes in their works.
Here at home, Burke used an ultraviolet light to show that some of the works we enjoy at the MFA of St. Pete are already products of restoration.
Repairs on some of the museum’s older works show up under that light - thin lines and patches you cannot see with the naked eye.
“That’s what’s great about the restoration work that will happen with anything at Notre Dame is that you have conservators that are so highly skilled that you won’t even notice it unless you have the correct lighting to view it,” said Burke.
The hope here is that fire will be just another chapter in the life in the continuing life of Notre Dame.
“Museums across the world, you look at paintings and they look perfect, but under the right light there’s always some sort of secret hidden in there.”