Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 November 2020

The closure of Louvre Abu Dhabi has been extended 'until further notice'

But the museum is gradually building its online content for audiences with artwork highlights from its collection

epa08295068 Exterior view of the closed Louvre Abu Dhabi museum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 15 March 2020. The United Arab Emirates shut down major tourism and cultural venues, including some parks, until 30 March 2020 amid the ongoing coronavirs pandemic. EPA/MAHMOUD KHALED
epa08295068 Exterior view of the closed Louvre Abu Dhabi museum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 15 March 2020. The United Arab Emirates shut down major tourism and cultural venues, including some parks, until 30 March 2020 amid the ongoing coronavirs pandemic. EPA/MAHMOUD KHALED

Louvre Abu Dhabi and the rest of the capital’s cultural sites, including Qasr Al Hosn and Cultural Foundation, have extended their closures "until further notice".

Heritage sites in Al Ain, including the Al Ain Palace Museum, Al Jahilli Fort and Al Ain Oasis will also continue to remain shuttered.

Initially, it was announced that the cultural sites would close from Saturday, March 14 until Tuesday, March 31, but Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) is extending the closures for an indefinite amount of time.

epa08295070 A worker cleans outside the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum after it was announced it would be closed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 15 March 2020. The United Arab Emirates shut down major tourism and cultural venues, including some parks, until 30 March 2020. EPA/MAHMOUD KHALED
A worker cleans outside Louvre Abu Dhabi after it was announced it would be closed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. EPA / Mahmoud Khaled

On social media, Louvre Abu Dhabi wrote that the closure is “in line with the precautionary measures being taken to ensure the health and safety of visitors”.

The museum said, “we continue to assess the situation and look forward to reopening and offering our stories of cultural connections to the world.”

Across the world, museums and galleries have had to close their doors in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19. This has caused many of them to turn to digital channels to reach the public.

Louvre Abu Dhabi is also gradually building its online resources for visitors, including sharing artwork highlights from their collection online.

On March 18, the museum stated on social media that “the museum galleries may be temporarily closed, but our digital platforms continue to narrate our stories of cultural connections." The museum has promised to deliver more “inspiration” soon.

A recent example is a closer look at the sarcophagus of Henuttawy, the daughter of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, who lived around 900 BC. The museum has shared a slideshow and audio clip about her funerary set, and printable colouring pages for children.

Other UAE art institutions have also stepped up their digital strategies.

Alserkal has launched an online platform that allows audiences to browse through their contemporary art galleries and purchase art, while Jameel Arts Centre releases artist videos and clips from previous talks and exhibitions on social media.

Art Dubai has also brought its programmes online, including a livestream of its annual Global Art Forum.

DCT’s extended closures also affect sites such as Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al Saadiyat, Bait Al Oud, Berklee Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain’s Qasr Al Muwaiji and Qattara Arts Centre.

Updated: March 29, 2020 12:16 PM

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