Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
So they’re not open 24 hours a day, but three major cultural spaces in France will now be open 7 days a week. This article in the Wall Street Journal cites overcrowding and disappointed tourists as the reasons why the Musée d’Orsay, the Lourve, and Versailles are keeping their doors open to visitors every day.
Even though there are ebbs and flows to tourism depending on seasons, there has been a consistent increase in tourists visiting France. The steady crowd in front of the Mona Lisa has grown over the years, and people with fixed travel itineraries have been complaining about the inconvenience of closing the museum for a single day. In the past, each of these museums closed once a week.
The article says that these cultural institutions hope to remedy both of these issues by remaining open the entire week. This will hopefully boost ticket sales and generate more money for the museums, although the author admits that this will be offset by the cost of hiring additional staff.
Out of curiosity, I googled ‘museums 24/7’ and came across this really cool initiative by the Philadelphia Museum of Art! In this case, art actually is available 24/7, albeit online. The museum is undertaking the massive task of photographing each piece and recording it and its information into a collections management database called The Museum System, or TMS. Each entry comes along with bonus features like video clips or audio of curators discussing the object. The Museum also has a social media component to this project, which allows visitors to share their favorite works with friends.
I just visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art this past weekend and had an amazing time wandering through the galleries. It’s enormous! They have a program where they offer free admission to all on the first Sunday of every month, and every Wedesday after 5:00 pm. My visit luckily coincided with this date, so I was able to go for free. On other days, student admission is $14 and adult is $20, which I thought was pretty steep.
When I worked at the Carnegie Museum of Art, we closed every Tuesday and we also charged admission- $17.95 for adults and $11.95 for students, only slightly cheaper than the Philadelphia Museum. The Carnegie Museum is much smaller as well. I wonder what conversations the CMA has had in regards to pricing and availability? As a museum in a college town with a lot of art students and working artists, I wonder how they arrived at this pricing strategy and if it works well for them.
But now you know. If on a whim you decide to hop on a plane tomorrow, it won’t matter what day of the week it is- you can walk into the Lourve and see the Mona Lisa. And you should invite me to come, too.