The Louvre’s business plan

7/10/07 — Museum policy — Paris, Musée du Louvre — The Louvre has been accused of acting more and more like a business company. The mission currently entrusted to the consulting firm McKinsey & Company seems to justify these claims. Entitled “Defining the perimeter and method of improving the Louvre’s activities”, the aim of this project is to set down the management strategies for the museum over the next ten years. And the challenges are laid out in clearly defined terms. First off, the current practice of multiplying development projects on an international and regional scale “should continue in the next decade”. Alas, “tensions exist, as concerns this development, given the [museum’s] resources as well as its other commitments”. More serious still, “multiple restrictions” have arisen, among them “limits in the solicitation of art works (sic !)”. Thus, a course of action is needed and the consulting firm is supposed to provide solutions.

Among the various possible leads, a choice should be made as to development projects (that is, which model will take priority, Atlanta, Abu-Dhabi or some other one). Also surprising is the possibility, already mentioned in the past, to establish an affiliate of the Louvre to manage this policy. Thus, just recently launched France Muséums would already be facing competition… The vocabulary used here, it goes without saying, is not that of a museum but, in fact, that of the business world. The Louvre might create an “affiliate”. And, of course, this affiliate would need a business plan. The term is used twice in the document,the second time in referring to a “global business plan”.

Another, and even graver, question which the consulting firm has been asked to answer is : “how should the missions and the perimeters of responsibility, both in the fields of conservation and administration, evolve ?”. The mission of the curators of the Musée du Louvre defined by an organizational consulting firm ! Progress never ends !

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Didier Rykner, dimanche 7 octobre 2007

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