Saturday, January 08, 2005

Museums to Open Branches Outside Paris

In the International Herald Tribune, Alan Riding reports on French museums taking steps away from home:
For the French, culture is culture and commerce is commerce and the twain should ne'er meet. That at least is the theory. In practice, because culture here requires even more money than the government provides, French museums charge admission fees, operate gift shops and woo corporate sponsors. And now two of them, the Louvre and the Georges Pompidou Center, are going still further: they are preparing to open branches outside Paris.

… So why are Western museums energetically spreading their wings?

Throughout the 19th century, museums displayed art and antiquities from far-off lands to people who did not travel. But today, with tourists representing around half the visitors to leading European museums, the issue is less how to draw crowds than what to do with tens of thousands of art works that never go on display. The opening of outposts, then, eases this problem …

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