You can now explore almost half a million items in the collection of Paris’ Louvre museum without leaving the comfort of your own home. "For the first time, anyone can access the entire collection of works from a computer or smartphone for free, whether they are on display in the museum, on loan, even long-term, or in storage," President-Director Jean-Luc Martinez said in a Friday statement, announcing a massive digitization effort. The entire collection is not actually accessible, reports NPR. However, some 482,000 digitized works, "representing about three quarters of the entire archive," can be found in a free searchable database, said to be updated daily. These include paintings (like the Mona Lisa), sculptures (like the Venus de Milo), textiles, jewelry, furniture, and other artifacts.
There's a ton of information to sift through, too. The museum says every item has an entry giving the "title, artist, inventory number, dimensions, materials and techniques, date and place of production, object history, current location and bibliography." "It's just overwhelming," Tufts University professor Andrew McClellan, who wrote a book about the museum, tells NPR. He notes the digitization is in keeping with the museum's goal to share its treasures with the world. Martinez said he expected the digital content "to further inspire people to come to the Louvre to discover the collections in person," whenever that becomes possible. The museum has been closed to the public since October as a result of coronavirus-related restrictions, and is now undergoing renovations, per CNN. (Read more The Louvre stories.)