The Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans has partnered with the French Blood Establishment to offer citizens the chance to give blood in the grand surroundings of its galleries.
Founded during the French Revolution in 1797, it is one of France’s oldest provincial museums with a collection of European art spanning the 15th to 18th centuries.
The first blood donation session took place this week and will now take place every first Monday of the month in the halls of the museum.
70% of donors had never visited the museum before
More than 100 donors turned up to give blood among large 17th and 18th century paintings, some of which were saved during the Revolution from the churches of the region and the castle of Richelieu and donated by the Orleans Pilté-Grenet.
Of those who gave blood 70% said they had never been to the museum before and now plan to come back.
“We wanted to give a social use to the museum’s galleries and this seemed to be a way to be more open to the public and break the idea the museum being a temple of beauty that deterred some people from entering,” Director, Olivia Voisin, said.
“When you donate blood, you have to sit for a while, so what better way than to enjoy the paintings as well. This dual purpose gives another meaning to art, which has become part of everyday life.”
Donors were also given cards inviting them to offer their thoughts and ideas about the space, which the museum can now use to influence future engagement and uses for the galleries.
The next blood donation session will take place in the Hall of Baroque Italy and the museum expects that once again this will the first experience of the museum of fine arts for many of the donors.
About the author – Adrian Murphy
Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.