Louvre Spending $67M to Keep You From Getting Lost

President plans to make museum more accessible to everyone
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2014 1:28 PM CST
Louvre Spending $67M to Keep You From Getting Lost
A man passes by the glass pyramid of the Louvre museum in Paris, Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Ever waited in a two-and-a-half-hour line at the world's most-visited museum? Its own president has, when he tried visiting the Louvre as a tourist, the New York Times reports. Now, Jean-Luc Martinez is working to make the museum more visitor-friendly—and tougher to get lost in. He's reorganizing its overwhelming reception area, adding two more entrances to try to pare down those lines, and working to improve the way the Louvre informs visitors about its works. The project, which will cost some $67 million, involves improving on the 40,000 banners and other displays discussing each piece in French. Museums have in the past tended to target visitors who already know a lot about art history, notes Martinez, who says the redone signage will be briefer—and also offered in English and Spanish.

"For nearly everybody, museums are scary spaces,” says an expert. “It’s like going into the city for the first time." But Martinez, born to a postman in a working-class suburb rather than hailing from the wealthy world of his predecessors, is working to change that. "Our museum is not a book," organized into "chapters" and "paragraphs," he notes. "It’s something physical. It’s necessary to move things around to try to increase understanding of our art." The effort could "take decades," he has said, according to artnet. But that could be worth it for the museum's visitors, some 12 million of whom are expected per year by 2025, the Art Newspaper reports. Last year, it saw 9.3 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 6.2 million. IM Pei's pyramid entrance was designed to handle 4.5 million visitors. (More The Louvre stories.)

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