As reported in Les Echos, over the period between March 12 and May 22 the Louvre had 10.5 million virtual visitors over 71 days. During this time, 17 percent of visits were made from France and 17 percent from people in the US.
In comparison, over the entire year in 2019, it had 14.1 million visits in person, reported forbes.com.
The Louvre is the biggest museum in the world and its deputy director of communications, Sophie Grange, explained that the museum had to harness the idea of using the smartphone and social media to enter people’s homes. She added that they initially struggled as to how that would work, when “usually you have to walk around works of art, they require a face-to-face meeting.”
A big draw has been the application called ‘En tête-à-tête avec La Joconde’ (a head-to-head with the Mona Lisa) which provides a virtual reality experience of the famous painting and its history.
A new service for children called ‘petit louvre’ (little Louvre) has also had over 76,000 visits.
Under the hashtags, #LouvreChezVous, #CultureChezNous and #MuseumFromHome, the museum gained 302,500 subscribers and now has nearly nine million in total.
The museum has also reported that during the lockdown, Instagram has been a big help in attracting people to the Louvre, with now over four million followers, many of whom joined in with the J. Paul Getty Museum, encouraging families to recreate scenes from famous paintings.
A partnership with France Inter created 10 podcasts for families called Les Odyssées du Louvre to explain the background behind key works and stories from the works of art in the Louvre, such as the Mona Lisa and the lost city of Akhenaton.
The Louvre reopens on July 6 but only to people who have bought tickets online in advance – there will be no tickets available to buy on site. Ticketing begins June 15. People with tickets, who haven’t been able to visit while the museum is closed, can apply for a refund.
The museum closed for two days at the beginning of March when the pandemic hit to discuss how best to manage its visitors; after reopening it was forced to close during lockdown and has now been given the go ahead to come out of confinement, but using new government health measures.
Museum curators are currently working on how to put these measures in place and an announcement will be made before opening to explain the new procedure to visitors.