The Louvre museum is planning a major overhaul before the Olympics in Paris in four years’ time in an effort to shake off its elite image.
Jean-Luc Martinez, Director of the Louvre said that the museum needs to have longer opening hours and more rooms open to be ready for the Olympics, France 24 reports.
A “cultural democratisation”
The museum will also overhaul the way its collection is presented. It will aim for a “cultural democratisation” of its collection, improving its labelling, presentation and curation.
Martinez explained that the museum can “intimidate” people, and so the museum must reassure everyone that its collections are for them.
He wants to build on the success of the Louvre’s outreach museum in Lens, a poor former mining town in northern France.
Reopening on July 6
However, around three-quarters of the museum’s visitors are from abroad. To attract more Parisians to visit this summer, the museum is launching free 20-minute mini-visits to the museum.
Martinez predicts that the museum will not get back to its previous visitor numbers for the next three years. He estimates that there will be “at best 20 to 30 percent” fewer visitors from last summer.
Whilst the museum was closed, traffic to the Louvre website rose tenfold. Martinez now plans to redo the website next year to put all its collections online.
Fewer crowds in the Louvre
When the Louvre does reopen on July 6, there will be strict social distancing measures in place. This means that there won’t be a crowd of people trying to see the Mona Lisa.
Martinez explained that the size of the museum (45,000 square metres) means “it’s not somewhere where you’re going to be crushed up against each other”, Reuters reports.
Visitors will have to pre-book a time slot to enter the museum, and there will also be hand sanitiser stations throughout. Signs will remind visitors to stay one-metre apart and to wear masks.
These precautions are likely to exist in all museums for a while as they find a way to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic.
The museum’s recent exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci was attended by around 1.1 million guests, a record-breaking number of visitors.
Image: Louvre Museum