Like much of what we used to do in person—seeing friends, doctor’s appointments, meetings—you can now visit the Louvre through a computer screen.
The home of the “Mona Lisa” and “Venus de Milo,” Paris’ Louvre Museum has been closed or operating at limited capacity for about a year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After shutting its doors “until further notice” in March 2020, the museum reopened about 70 percent of its galleries in July, with social distancing, masks, and timed entry tickets required—but closed again in October.
Through the museum’s new online offerings, virtual visitors can, for the first time, view works virtually, for free.
The Louvre is “dusting off its treasures, even the least-known,” Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre, said in a press release. The entire Louvre collection is available to view online, including pieces on display currently, as well as ones that are on loan or in storage. Virtual visitors can now navigate the museum room-by-room using an interactive floor plan.
The collection includes 482,000 works from the Louvre, as well as from the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, sculptures from the Tuileries and Carrousel gardens, and from the National Museums Recovery—pieces that were recovered after WWII and entrusted to the Louvre until they can be returned to their owners.
As of November, nearly a third of museums worldwide were shuttered due to Covid restrictions. Small museums, which don’t have massive endowments or easy access to federal grants (unlike retail spaces or restaurants that have been allowed to reopen at limited capacity), are at risk of disappearing forever.
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