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    European Museums Struggle With Crowds

    Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, c. 1503–7, oil on poplar wood. COURTESY MUSÉE DU LOUVRE, PARIS.

    Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, ca. 1503–7, oil on poplar wood.

    COURTESY MUSÉE DU LOUVRE, PARIS.

    With record-breaking attendance reported at some of the world’s most popular museums, institutions are now tasked with balancing visitor experience with art preservation, The New York Times reports today.

    In 2013, the Louvre hosted a staggering 9.3 million visitors, while the British Museum experienced 6.7 million, and the Vatican Museums saw 5.5 million and expects that number to increase this year, the article states. The Daily News reports 6.2 million visitors flocked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York during their last fiscal year (which ended June 30), making that the third year in a row where attendance broke the six million mark.

    With iPhones and cameras in hand, crowds pack into museum galleries for a chance to glimpse beloved treasures like Michelangelo’s David or the Mona Lisa, creating stifling environments comparable to steamy saunas and congested Subway cars. So what exactly are museums doing to ensure the safety of their artworks—and their visitors?

    Many museums, like the Metropolitan, the Museum of Modern Art, and Madrid’s Prado have opted to stay open for seven days a week. Others, such the Vatican Museums and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, offer timed ticketing to stagger traffic and keep wait times to a minimum. The Uffizi in Florence, which is notorious for its long lines, lets in only 980 visitors at a time to adhere to fire codes.

    As far as safety measures are concerned, the Louvre has beefed up the number of security guards on duty, which has helped prevent pick-pocketing.

    Read more at The New York Times.

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