RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Armed guards and crowd control. These are just some of the security measures in place as hundreds of thousands of people head to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for the final weekend of the Picasso exhibit.
The art is under such a tight watch that a museum spokesperson wouldn't reveal much more than that. Just to give you an idea of how protected these pieces are, there are 176 of them and each was shipped individually in crates to this museum.
The lines are packed at the Picasso exhibit as its last weekend in Richmond kicks off. And for the first time, doors at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts are staying open till midnight and security is tight.
"The Picasso exhibition is particularly important to secure because of the extraordinary value and quantity of art that we have in our museum at this time," said museum spokesperson, Suzanne Hall.
Extraordinary is almost an understatement. These one of a kind pieces of art are on loan from Paris. For the first time, VMFA police guarding the gallery are armed.
"We have a dedicated security force for Picasso and the galleries are secured 24-7 so even when the museum is closed the security guards remain," said Hall.
As long as you've purchased a ticket, security will allow you to stay even past midnight and enjoy all of the exhibits including the Portrait of Dora Marr as long as you want this weekend.
"We came right in," said museum go-er Christina Jeffries. "Nobody said anything. Everybody's been behaving themselves and it's actually moved pretty fluid, pretty well."
Jeffries just had to bring her son Henry to see the exhibit before it leaves Richmond. They're just two of the more than 220,000 people stopping through the exhibit and security is tight to preserve the original works.
"Art is priceless and irreplaceable so we are a state of the art security operation at all times," said Hall.
Again, this is the last weekend for the Picasso exhibit. It's open till midnight Friday and Saturday and 5pm Sunday night.