Adopting priceless art is now ‘a click’ away

FILE PHOTO OF SKYLIGHT IN VATICAN MUSEUMS

A skylight is seen above the spiral staircase at the exit of the Vatican Museums in this 2010 file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican Museums have just made donating to their art conservation efforts a lot easier.

People now can donate online and you don’t have to be a member of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums to take part in helping preserve and restore the museums’ priceless collections.

With the launch of their new website yesterday, the patrons’ office also opened an online fundraising account on crowdrise.com, giving people worldwide the opportunity to contribute to an already earmarked project or start a new campaign for a different project.

About a dozen projects are “up for adoption” and listed in the patrons’ 2014 Wishbook.

There’s plenty to choose from including: marble sarcophagi; a 17th-century silk flag of the papal guard; a second-century marble statue of Hermes; Egyptian coffins; and Raphael’s frescoed Room of Constantine.

They are also looking for funds to buy state-of-the-art research and conservation equipment like an X-ray diffractometer (!?) and a scanning electron microscope as well as funding for an archeological dig and a 12-month-long internship program.

Private funding through the patrons is the main source of revenue for restoring the museums’ collections. The museums’ ticket revenues actually only cover the basic costs for maintenance and staff since much of the profits are used to fund the free-of-charge papal Masses and audiences, and entrance into St. Peter’s Basilica, according to the patrons’ website.

If you wish to become more involved and enjoy some of the perks that come with membership, individuals, families, corporations and universities can become patrons. You’d get free (skip-the-line) entrance to the museums and gardens, free guided tours, special access to the basilica and museums, gift shop discounts and more.

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