Summer 2016 marks the end of major renovations at the Musée du Louvre. Launched in 2014, they aim to improve the visitor experience. The new rooms of the Pavillon de l’Horloge and the renovated Pyramid will open their doors on July 6, 2016.
Inaugurated in 1989, I. M. Pei’s Pyramid was originally designed to welcome 4.5 million visitors a year. Twenty-five years later, museum attendance has more than doubled. The Louvre remained open throughout the renovations, which touched on everything from points of entry to ticket control posts. All visitor services were improved, including cloakroom, tickets sales, and Information. Thanks to the “Pyramid Project,” this emblematic space returns to its original vocation of helping people plan their visit. And its grandeur has been restored with no changes to the architecture.
Another manifestation of a more accessible Louvre is the new museum interpretation center located in the Pavillon de l’Horloge (the Clock Pavilion). It gives visitors keys for understanding the Louvre, which was once a royal palace before becoming a universal museum. The history of the Louvre unfolds in four rooms located on three levels, through works of art, interactive models, photographs, and films.
These renovations were made possible by the support of the United Arab Emirates, as part of the founding of Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Tapping into this fresh impetus, the Louvre has undertaken other projects to help visitors get the most out of their visit. For example, the 38,000 artwork labels and accompanying texts are being re-edited and translated into one or two languages. An App with a geolocation device has been developed, and last but not least, the Petite Galerie, dedicated to art and cultural education, is gearing up for its second season. These tools and spaces place the Louvre firmly within the 21st century, and make its collections more accessible to the public.
In the words of Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Louvre, “These renovations are our answer to concrete questions that are crucial to the future of our museum: What is the Louvre that we want to offer our visitors? How can we make a former palace and complex knowledge more accessible to people? How can we reach all of our audiences? It’s not about increasing the number of visitors, but knowing how to welcome people and help them get the most out of their visit. The real goal is to offer our visitors a more welcoming, more accessible, and more generous Louvre.”