Paris’ small museums forced to innovate during lockdown
By Martí Rodríguez
Paris, Apr 18 (EFE).- Small and often quirky museums in Paris have had to get creative and rely on government aid where possible to survive the last six months of lockdown in France.
These businesses, which include museums dedicated to a variety of topics from chocolate to absynth to hand-held fans, do not have the same financial or cultural clout as their larger neighbors like the Louvre when it comes to landing an economic lifeline.
Ara Kebapcioglu owns a small oil lamp museum in the French capital. The 71-year-old opened his first exhibition in 2000 having moved to Paris from Armenia in 1982 for love. He later opened a small lamp workshop in the 5th arrondissement.
Before the pandemic, around three people a day came to visit the exhibition of lamps, but Kebapcioglu has been unable to open at all since November.
The expert has, however, found success in selling restored oil lamps online and told Efe that, although the situation is complicated, he is able to continue ahead thanks to some help from the government, which totalled around 3,000 euros in two instalments.
“The part that came from the museum has almost disappeared, so I would say that the commercial part of this shop, selling, repairing, that keeps me up at the surface.”
Mark Oremland, director of the Mundolingua language and linguistics museum has also taken to selling off some display objects and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of being closed.
Around 10 people came to visit his museum each day before the pandemic and even though he would make an average loss of 1,000 euros per month — something he would normally cover with income generated from his small hostel in his native New Zealand — he said he would not close the museum after the pandemic, describing it as his “life’s project.”
The Pavillons de Bercy-Musée des Arts Forains museum, founded by Jean Paul Favand in 1996, displays a collection of fairground art and artefacts over a space of 8,000 square meters.