Louvre, other museums switch on to e-comm

Thanks to a project led by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN), three famous French museums will soon open virtual boutiques on the Web.

RMN, which runs the network of physical shops selling postcards, posters, books and other souvenirs in museums across France, plans to open its first e-commerce boutique on the Louvre's Web site (http://www.louvre.fr/) starting on March 1, officials at the organisation said last week. Shortly thereafter, RMN will open boutiques for the Château de Versailles and the Musée d'Orsay, each accessible through the museums' existing Web sites. The announcement was made at Milia, a trade show focusing on the multimedia and Internet content markets that took place in Cannes last week.

RMN also sponsors specific exhibits throughout France and plans to open e-commerce sites linked to these special programs in the future, officials said. In fact, the organisation is also looking at offering its e-commerce services to museums outside of France that are interested in opening online stores.

Because most people haven't heard of RMN, the idea is to operate in the background of a museum's online presence, much in the same way that RMN's stores operate within the museums themselves, officials said.

The online Louvre boutique will open with more than 1000 items for sale, according to information on the Louvre site. Some of the items people can expect to find include books, CD-ROMs, reproductions of art works and jewellery.

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