The Louvre in Paris can thank the Carters -- Beyoncé and Jay-Z -- for helping the museum retain its position as the most visited museum in the world for 2018, with 10 million people treading its hallowed halls last year.
According to the latest edition of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, attendance at the most iconic museum in Paris jumped 26 percent -- or by 2 million visitors in 2018, widening the gap with its closest rival, the National Museum of China in Beijing which saw 8.6 million visitors.
Rounding out the podium of top museums in the world is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, at 7.36 million visitors.
Analysts cited a number of contributing factors for the surge in attendance to the Louvre last year. Most notably, the report credits Jay-Z and Queen Bey for bringing renewed interest to the museum after using it as a backdrop for their music video "Apes***". The video has racked up more than 172 million views since it was released last June. Its popularity has even resulted in a thematic "Jay-Z and Beyoncé at the Louvre" tour which takes guests on a trail of all the artworks featured in the video.
In general, museum attendance is also driven by temporary exhibitions. In 2018, the Louvre featured the works of Eugène Delacroix, which drew 540,000 visitors.
The museum's history made recent headline news with the passing of the architect responsible for its 1989 pyramid addition, I.M. Pei, on May 16.
The Natural History Museum in London also owes a record-breaking year to temporary exhibits and events like Dippy the Dinosaur, the installation of a 25-meter blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling, and collaborations with the Roald Dahl Story Company and the LEGO Group.
Overall, global museum attendance was steady in 2018, growing from a modest 108 million to 108.1 million in 2018.
European museums continue to dominate the top 20 list, with 9 out of 20 museums on the ranking, representing nearly half (48%) of worldwide attendance. The list also reveals a particularly strong museum culture in London, which scored four of the top 10 spots.
Here are the top 10 museums of 2018:
1. The Louvre, Paris
2. National Museum of China, Beijing
3. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
4. Vatican Museums, Vatican
5. National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC
6. British Museum, London
7. Tate Modern, London
8. National Gallery, London
9. Natural History Museum, London
10. American Museum of Natural History, New York