Press Release  March 30, 2021

The Louvre Launches Online Collection, New Website, & More

Courtesy Wiki Commons. Photo by Benh LIEU SONG.

Looking west at the Louvre Museum's Napoleon Courtyard, at dusk.

Two new digital tools have just gone live to bring the richness of the Louvre collections to the world’s fingertips—a platform that for the first time ever brings together all of the museum’s artworks in one place and a new and improved website that is more user-friendly, attractive and immersive.

Designed for both researchers and curious art lovers, the database already contains more than 482,000 entries, including works from the Louvre and the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, sculptures from the Tuileries and Carrousel gardens, and ‘MNR’ works (Musées Nationaux Récupération, or National Museums Recovery) recovered after WWII and entrusted to the Louvre until they can be returned to their legitimate owners. For the first time ever, the entire Louvre collection is available online, whether works are on display in the museum, on long-term loan in other French institutions, or in storage.

The site offers several ways to delve into the collections: simple or advanced searches, entries by the curatorial department, and themed albums. An interactive map helps visitors prepare or extend their visit and allows them to explore the museum room by room. Updated regularly by museum experts, the database will continue to grow and reflect advances in research.

Designed to reach the widest possible audience, the Louvre’s new website is divided into three main sections: ‘Visit’, ‘Explore’, and ‘What’s on’. Focusing on works in the collections and the sumptuous settings they are displayed in, the site invites visitors to appreciate the former palace as they move from room to room. Available in French, English, Spanish, and Chinese, images and video are given place of pride. The site can be visited on tablets and computers but is intended primarily for use on smartphones, given the widespread use of mobile devices today. The website is designed to stay in synch with the Louvre as the museum develops more digital content.

Courtesy of the Louvre.

View of the Louvre's new digital features.

"Today, the Louvre is dusting off its treasures, even the least-known," says Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre. "For the first time, anyone can access the entire collection of works from a computer or smartphone for free, whether they are on display in the museum, on loan, even long-term, or in storage. The Louvre’s stunning cultural heritage is all now just a click away! I am sure that this digital content is going to further inspire people to come to the Louvre to discover the collections in person."

In October 2019, the Louvre inaugurated a new conservation center in Liévin to house works that were previously held in storage spaces at risk of potential flooding of the Seine. Before the move, each curatorial department carried out an extensive campaign to inventory and photograph a very large number of works. Putting the collections online is the last step of this formidable accomplishment.

The new website will record all of the Louvre’s artworks, be they on display at the museum, on long-term loan in other institutions, or in storage.

It currently consists of more than 482,000 entries (most with images), i.e. approximately seventy-five percent of the museum’s collections. It replaces the former Atlas database, which was well-known by visitors and researchers but which only covered works on display.

Each entry consists of scientific data about the given work of art: title, artist, inventory number, dimensions, materials, and techniques, date, and place of production, object history, current location, and bibliography. The wealth of images in the database is an indispensable resource for researchers and visitors alike. These documentary entries, drawn up by museum curators and researchers, come from two museum collection databases and are updated on a daily basis.

To foster knowledge-sharing, the Musée du Louvre has adopted an open data approach for all entries.

In a decidedly cross-disciplinary approach, collections.louvre.fr offers several gateways to explore the collections: by curatorial department, themed albums, broad categories ( e.g. textiles, paintings, furniture, etc.). The search tools help visitors easily find all the works by the same artist who made, for example, paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Advanced searches and filters allow for refined searches by curatorial department, place of exhibition, date of creation, artist, etc. Users can explore the collections by going back and forth between entries to discover other works by the same artist, from the same period, or in the same category of works, for example.

Curated, themed albums group works into a given theme: for example, masterpieces, new acquisitions, MNR works (Musées Nationaux Récupération, or National Museums Recovery: artworks recovered after WWII and entrusted to the Louvre for safekeeping until they can be returned to their legitimate owners), etc.

Courtesy of the Louvre.

View of the Louvre's interactive map.

An interactive museum map generates a list of works on display in the same room and allows users to prepare or prolong a visit to the Louvre.  

Whether they are coming to the Louvre for the first time or are regulars, are visiting alone or in a group, are exploring with or without children, users deserve an easy-to-use website to prepare their visit.

The new site offers three main gateways that offer visitors:

- practical information at their fingertips to visit the Louvre in the best possible conditions: opening hours, ticket prices, free entry eligibility, museum map, on-site services, restaurants, etc.

- an opportunity to explore the treasures that await: rooms of the former palace, their history, the collections they house, museum highlights, gardens, and tours on site.

- the latest information about what is happening at the Louvre in real-time: exhibitions, guided tours, workshops, concerts, special events, and articles about major events and latest news.

The new website is also a place where original content is made accessible to all, for both in-person and virtual visitors. Live and recorded podcasts, lectures, and concerts, web series, animated stories, filmed exhibition walk-throughs, interviews, and more.

All visitors, newcomers and seasoned museum-goers alike, are invited to explore the Louvre remotely. The site content is designed around art history themes but with current happenings at the museum in mind, such as conservation campaigns and art-related professions. Created in spring 2020, the Louvre Kids app for children and families can be accessed from the ‘Visit the Louvre as a  family’ section It includes filmed storytime sessions, a gallery of works, and tales to listen to at home.

Courtesy of the Louvre.

View of the Louvre's new digital features.

The Louvre’s digital offering has grown significantly in recent years, especially since the onset of the public health crisis. Online ticketing, social media accounts, an online boutique, donation platform…the Louvre’s digital ecosystem covers all the needs of in-person and virtual visitors who wish to stay in touch with the museum.

Thanks to its social media accounts, the Musée du Louvre continues to forge strong ties with its fans. Of all the world’s historic art museums, it boasts the largest following on Instagram (4.5 million followers) and Facebook (2.6 million followers) and has about 1.5 million followers on Twitter. Overall, the museum counts 9.5 million followers on its official networks, with a strong following abroad. On Chinese social networks, it is the most popular museum outside of China (more than 340,000 followers on Weibo and Wechat).

Each week, new content is added: explanations about works of art, reading recommendations, #LouvreChezVous videos with commentary from curators, recorded storytelling sessions, and thought-provoking videos made in the museum. This content aims to captivate users and entice them to come and discover the treasures of the Louvre in person as soon as they can.

With close to 600,000 subscribers each month (seventy percent growth rate over one year), the Louvre’s e-newsletter keeps visitors up to date on what is happening at the museum. Informative, visually pleasing, and accessible, it was sent by email to  6.6 million people over the last twelve months.

The newsletter helps the Louvre keep in touch with visitors and promote the digital content generated while the museum was closed.

In January 2021, the Louvre launched its online boutique, boutique.louvre.fr, dedicated to collaborations that the museum has developed with partners. This new site offers a range of unique creations, hand-picked to embody the richness of the Louvre and its collections. Printed material, games, fashion, lifestyle, etc…modern designers and brands give their resolutely contemporary take on the former palace and its works, by revisiting them in new ways. The museum’s online ticketing service at ticketlouvre.fr will also be refreshed by 2023.

The Louvre is preparing a new and exciting phase of its publishing branch: scientific publications are going digital. Two projects are currently in the works:

- A digital scientific journal, in line with academic and university publishing norms. The journal will go live on a platform dedicated to the humanities and social sciences. It will only be available digitally.

- Multi-format book-catalogs. Thought must be given, on the one hand, to what distinguishes a book or article from online content: longevity, citability according to bibliographical standards, its own reference listing (in bookshops, libraries); and on the other hand, to what makes digital the better choice: enrich published works but especially respond to open access goals, expand readership, provide free access.

Since autumn 2020, the Louvre has offered a digital cultural outreach program and online learning opportunities. Some 800 professionals or volunteers from the Education and Accessibility sectors or social services followed video conferences in art history and participated in active exchanges or training programs that allowed them to stay culturally fit and strengthen ties with the museum. Simultaneously, 460 beneficiaries of social services and the public health and accessibility sectors enjoyed online conversations, video conferences, and remote workshops.

The current health crisis prompted Louvre Conseil, a service dedicated to sharing museum expertise and skills with partners, to step up the museum’s remote learning opportunities.

As international business travel came to a standstill, the Louvre Conseil and Department of Near Eastern Antiquities set up a remote training program for staff at the Mosul Museum. The program is part of the project to rehabilitate the Iraqi museum in tandem with local authorities, the Smithsonian Institution, and the World Monuments Fund, with financial support from ALIPH (international alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas). Thanks to these efforts, experts from the Mosul Museum involved in the restoration of damaged artworks benefited from remote training and will be able to prepare for in situ restoration with specialized Louvre staff when health and security conditions allow. The program also aims to train recently-recruited teams in managing museum collections and, more broadly, to assist and support them throughout the renovation project.

To optimize the learning experience, the Louvre has set up a platform, the Learning Management System, which will be tested for twelve months. The platform offers online training programs to be followed independently or interactively with experts from the Louvre on computers, tablets, or smartphones. It offers engaging resources and educational activities such as videos, photos, self-assessment quizzes, virtual classes, etc. It is designed to encourage collaborative learning between participants and monitor their progress to best respond to their needs.

Louvre staff will benefit from a new and improved version of the museum’s intranet site, ‘Mercure’, before summer 2021. The modernized tool, built with a responsive design approach, makes for smoother browsing and easier access by smartphone — a plus for those who do not have a computer for working at home.

Moreover, more than 800 smartphones were distributed to reception staff and security agents, making their job of welcoming visitors and answering their questions easier.

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