Coronavirus – Temporary closure of museums in Normandy

March 14, 2020: temporary closure of most of the Normandy Landing Museums
Author: Marc Laurenceau

The spread of the Covid-19 virus, also called Coronavirus, led to the temporary closure of most of the museums in the historic area of the Battle of Normandy.

Cimetière militaire Colleville Normandie

Since the start of 2020, Normandy has not escaped the spread of the Coronavirus. In France, several thousand people have been affected and new health safeguard measures have been decided by the President of the Republic. Thus, gatherings of people are temporarily prohibited in order to limit the spread of the virus. These measures now affect museums and memorial sites dedicated to the Landing and the Battle of Normandy.

On March 13, 2020, the day after the television intervention by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, several museums announced their temporary closure. The management hopes to reopen during the Easter holidays in mid-April 2020. These sad decisions, but which are necessary given the rapid spread of the Covid-19, come as the figures for the beginning of years were excellent for memory tourism in Normandy. Museums had been hit several times by the latest social movements (Yellow Vests, transport strikes) and are now faced with a new challenge which weighs heavily on the economy.

Several museums dedicated to the history of Operation Overlord in Normandy have closed due to insufficient financial results in recent years, such as the Ranger Museum in Grandcamp-Maisy, the Normandy Tank Museum in Catz and the Museum of the Liberation of Quinéville which had launched an appeal for help recently. These memory spaces play an essential role in transmitting the memory of the battles of 1944 and the sacrifice of several thousand Allied soldiers, many of whom are buried in Normandy.

To date, no decision has been made regarding the conduct of D-Day commemorations in Normandy in June. If it is still too early to judge a favorable development of the situation, many reservations for this period have already been canceled by tourists from around the world. In addition, the 2020 edition of the Second World War International Film Festival in Normandy, planned as part of the commemoration of the D-Day 76th anniversary, has already been canceled. The participation of Allied and partner military forces in these commemorative ceremonies is also questioned, given the need to preserve security forces around the world. Normandy is very likely to suffer the full brunt of this health crisis, the consequences of which on memory tourism are only beginning to be felt.


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