The Musée du Louvre in Paris has announced plummeting attendance, highlighting the devastating effect of COVID-19 restrictions on museums around the world
Despite that, its 2020 figures show a 72 percent drop – the worst attendance figures in memory with just 2.7 million visitors. The museum says this has equated to around $110 million in lost revenue.
The Louvre was only open for 161 days out of a potential 311 in 2020. During the summer it opened with restricted visitor numbers. With flights grounded and external visitor numbers dropping exponentially, the museum had to rely on domestic visitors. It reports that around 70 percent of visitors were from France.
The stark figures demonstrate how COVID-19 is impacting museums in general. However, even with such a drastic fall, the Louvre is still performing better than many institutions, thanks in part to its high figures in January and February 2020.
Last June, Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the Louvre, predicted that visitor number would drop by 80 percent, calling it the worst crisis the museum has known in peacetime. “I anticipate… a slow recovery starting in 2021 and an improvement in 2023-24,” he said, talking to The Art Newspaper. “It might take a bit longer to get over the present crisis, but we are a solid institution.”
Online tours and events
Martinez says the aim going forward is to draw more people to the institution’s permanent collection. One way of doing this has been by launching a series of online tours and events. Visitors can remotely visit the museum’s galleries, take in the architecture and enjoy the views. The Petite Galerie explores a range of different topics online, from Egyptian Antiquities through the power of myth, to art and politics.
United at Home David Guetta collaboration
The museum hosted global DJ and producer David Guetta over New Year. This was part of the Louvre’s United at Home charity performances. The DJ set and light show has been watched over 16 million times. It raised millions for charities including UNICEF and the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response fund.
The museum also held Bid for the Louvre, a luxury fundraiser that offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the world’s most famous painting up close.
While the Louvre is confident it can weather this storm, other institutions may not be so robust. The American Alliance of Museums has warned that a third of US museums could close permanently as a result of the pandemic. Its survey last summer suggested that around 12,000 museums might not survive.