In 2015, 19 refugees in Berlin were recruited and trained as museum guides to provide native-language tours for fellow refugees, with the aim of helping newly arrived people foster connections between Germany’s cultural heritage and their own. The project proved to be so popular it inspired a similar program at two museums in Oxford—the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Museum of the History of Science.
The Louvre’s Islamic art department is in talks with the Saudi charitable foundation Alwaleed Philanthropies over how to adapt the Multaka programme to the priorities of the Louvre and the French context.
Yannick Lintz, director of the Islamic art department at the Louvre, told The Art Newspaper:
As director of the Islamic Art department, I was asking myself how culture can contribute to a better knowledge of Islamic civilization so people don’t think Islam is only terrorism. [. . .] It was a very sincere dialogue [with Alwaleed Philanthropies], not only a business dialogue, with a shared vision of the importance of education.
The Louvre currently has a free admission policy for refugees and asylum seekers, and the trained tour guides may give tours in more languages than just Arabic and French. The museum expects to announce further details about the project in 2020.