Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 20 October |
Saint of the Day: St. Paul of the Cross
Aleteia logo
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Notre Dame’s restoration of the Grand Organ is ahead of schedule

J-P Mauro - published on 12/14/20

The restoration team races to meet the April 2024 deadline for the reopening ceremony.

The Grand Organ of Notre Dame de Paris was one of the greatest losses of the 2019 fire. The massive musical instrument thankfully survived the fire, but it was coated with toxic lead and must be cleaned. There was concern that the process of restoring the organ would take longer than that for the cathedral, but now a report from Smithsonian Magazine gives us hope that it may be finished well before.

Smithsonian Mag’s Isis Davis-Marks reports that the restoration process of the organ is two months ahead of schedule. In order for the lead to be cleaned away, each and every one of the 8,000 pipes had to be removed. The process was expected to take six months, but it’s been completed in four.

The reason it was supposed to take so long is that the disassembly must be undertaken with the utmost care. The 8,000 pipes are in a wide range of sizes, from 32-feet long to some that measure mere inches. The work is slow because if workers accidentally put a single dent in one of the pipes the tone would be irrevocably altered. Their work was not helped by the roundabout way they had to access the organ, through the use of 98-foot-tall scaffolding installed as part of the greater restoration effort.

A long road ahead

The pipes were taken to an offsite warehouse, where they will be washed of the toxic lead. The wood frame of the organ, which holds the delicate keyboards and switches, cannot be removed, however, and must be cleaned in Notre Dame. While the dismantling phase may be done, the organ will take a considerable time to clean.

A report from the Associated Press notes that the cleaning will take approximately four years to ensure the lead is gone. Considering the organ will take about six months to properly tune, this timeline may come down to the wire with the restoration of Notre Dame. It is hoped that the Grand Organ will play at Notre Dame again on its scheduled reopening on April 16, 2024. 

Learn more here

MusicNotre Dame
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
difficult people
Zoe Romanowsky
How to love people you don’t really like
saint teresa of Avila
Zelda Caldwell
Now there’s a computer font based on St. Teresa of Avila’s handwr...
Agnès Pinard Legry
Three brothers ordained priests on the same day in the Philippine...
Philip Kosloski
How the violence in ‘Squid Game’ can impact your soul
Philip Kosloski
A scientist describes the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima
Kathleen N. Hattrup
A martyr’s last letter to his mother
Theresa Civantos Barber
How following Christ is like falling in love
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.