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Monaco’s cultural institutions adapt to the pandemic

Caroline Hernandez / Unsplash
Caroline Hernandez / Unsplash

Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown introduced on March 16th, Monaco’s cultural institutions have had to adapt. But how can they reinvent themselves in such a short space of time while having to cope with multiple issues presented by this new situation? By introducing new ways of experiencing culture online, they can continue to share all forms of art.

Now, you can discover a museum, watch a ballet or attend a performance of the Philharmonic Orchestra from the comfort of your own home.


Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology of Monaco
Although the museum’s collections are not yet available online, the museum has nevertheless set up various resources on social media. Anyone can find sources to read, such as those on the “Medieval and Modern Fortifications of Mediterranean Cities”. There are also presentations of key artefacts and collections, quizzes to deepen your knowledge as well as colouring and games so that even children can discover the Principality’s ancient past.


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Museum of Stamps and Coin s of Monaco
This museum opened in Fontvieille in January 1996 and is the showcase for the world-renowned stamp and coin collections of the Prince Alert II of Monaco. During lockdown, those who are enthusiastic about these fields can look at the rare finds made on Monaco’s territory by going for a virtual visit set up on the museum’s website. It is an excellent taste of what can be discovered at the museum when life returns to normal.

Nouveau Musée National de Monaco
With a permanent collection of more than 10,000 works of art created between the 19th and 21st centuries, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM) also hosts temporary exhibitions regularly. It is housed in Villa Sauber and Villa Paloma, two of the Rock’s architectural masterpieces. Before lockdown, ‘Variations – Les décors lumineux’ by Eugène Frey, launched in February, gave an insight into his shadow play and puppetry technique. It was popular on the stage of the Monte-Carlo Opera House until the 1930s. Although the exhibition is on until August 30th, the NMNM is open to experience from the comfort of your home. It has set up on its Facebook page different workshops every Saturday to follow at home. Some have included setting up your shadow play and learning stop motion.

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Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
One of the first museums to open its virtual doors, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco allows you to experience the Mediterranean without stepping outside. The virtual tour is an opportunity to discover more than 200 species and the hundreds of corals housed in the museum’s aquariums. Mindful of its youngest visitors, the museum has an area on its website complete with educational worksheets as well as a colouring book. Games are available too and regularly updated.


Dive into Oceanographic Museum’s virtual world

The Observatory Cave and Exotic Gardens
After nearly two months of lockdown, the Great Outdoors is calling us. If you can’t take advantage of their gardens, the Exotic Garden site invites you to virtually discover dozens of varieties of succulents, cacti and plants that make up for it. It is also possible to venture into the depths of the Observatory Cave to admire stalactites, stalagmites and the caverns that lie beneath the Rock.


Exotic Garden of Monaco reveals its treasures

Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Music certainly helps to brighten up daily life in times of lockdown. Every day, the members of the philharmonic orchestra video themselves perform various works from their repertoire, which are put into a montage to make the piece come together. The digital performances can be found on their Facebook page. Past performances, as well as those of the Prince’s current Carabinieri Orchestra, are posted on their website.


Violinist Alexander Gershovich, who has worked at the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra since 1991, tells us what happens backstage at concerts.

Monte-Carlo Opera
Lockdown is as good a time as any to discover the world of opera and classical music. Wanting to maintain contact with its fans and audiences worldwide, the Monte-Carlo Opera has made a few performances from its previous programmes available. Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff and Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor have been released as episodes, allowing viewers to watch sections at a time to discover what the plot has in store.


The Monte-Carlo Ballet Company
The Monte-Carlo Ballet have also found a way to share their repertoire with the aficionados of the art. Broadcast on the France 3’s website and Monaco Info, previous works such as Faust and Lac are available.


The Media Library of Monaco
The cultural hub of the Principality, the media library is not coy in its lockdown programme. There is something for all ages: games to do at home, workshops for diverse, engaging artistic creations, storytelling, mindfulness sessions and quizzes make up just some of the impressive show on offer.

Even during testing times such as these, anyone in the Principality can consume culture, regardless of age or taste. It raises the question: could these virtual tours and programmes be a permanent fixture once the government end lockdown?

Although nothing is decided, this could be an opportunity to open people up to forms of culture that they would not typically explore. Cultural institutions such as opera and ballet would do well to become more accessible to the masses, a chance to create a new link with potential audiences. After all, isn’t it the point of cultural institutions to make knowledge available to all?