Being stuck at home and unable to travel can bring out the wanderlust in even the most reluctant traveller. If your desire to travel is stronger than ever right now, there’s no better time to get inspired and explore the virtual world of travel. In the first instalment of our virtual travel series, we’re focusing on the world of museums.
If you’ve always dreamed of visiting an iconic museum you’ve never quite got around to visiting, many are now offering virtual tours. You’ll have no crowds to wade through, no self-sticks in your way, and no queues for coffee and cake. Not only will you get your cultural hit, but it’s also a great way to entertain and educate kids.
Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you can now access online content from over 2,000 leading museums that have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute. Install the app to experience virtual reality tours. You may also want to check out the 360° videos to experience art, science, music, and history from all angles.
Here are some of our favourites you can explore from the comfort of your sofa.
Where: Vatican City, Rome, Italy
One of the most famous museums in the world, the Sistine Chapel is home to the Pope. Built in the 15th century, this monumental structure contains an extensive collection of artistic works and archaeology gathered by Popes over the ages. The decorative ceilings are an extraordinary and mesmerising depiction of Renaissance art so don’t forget to look up!
Fun Fact: Michelangelo’s famous ceiling frescoes took four years to complete and covers 12,000 square feet.
Where: London, UK
Also known as the museum of the world, London’s most iconic museum houses over 60 galleries’ worth of pieces across all continents from 2,000,000 BC to the present day. Simply click on the century, category of work, or continent, and it will take you to information about that piece.
Fun Fact: The British Museum has the largest indoor space in the world according to Google Street view.
Choose one of eight virtual tours to see the extensive collection of art and historical works in this Dutch museum. It contains more than 2,000 painting, including works by Rembrandt.
Fun Fact: Rijksmuseum is the only museum in the world that has a road in it, and it’s still open to cyclists.
Natural History Museum
Where: London, UK
The NHM has 12 different self-guided virtual tours to choose from, from delving into the life of a blue whale, hanging out with scientists and more. The virtual tour gives people access to an extensive collection of digital exhibitions, specimens, and interactive gigapixel photos.
Fun Fact: The Natural History Museum houses the first fossil ever found from a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Where: Washington D.C., USA
Click on the interactive map and you’ll be taken to an area of the museum where you can zoom right into the information relating to each artefact. It’s particularly child friendly as it’s so easy to navigate around the museum and view each exhibit with high-quality clarity. It also has an educational program for teachers, families and teens.
Fun Fact: The founder, James Smithson, handed over the museum’s estate to the USA without having ever set foot inside the country.
Where: Paris, France
Take one of the many different tours of Paris’ most famous museum, including Egyptian antiques, filmmaking, Renaissance art, dance, and more. You can also experience the Mona Lisa in virtual reality.
Fun Fact: Da Vinci’s’ painting of the Mona Lisa was made famous in 1911 when it was stolen and returned to the Louvre two years later.
Where: Barcelona, Spain
The Museu Picasso features over 4,000 works of art by the Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. The museum is made up of five large Gothic palaces and is the only one dedicated to Picasso’s work. You can take a virtual tour of the rooms housing his collections, the courtyards where the buildings are situated, and around the houses and places Picasso worked and visited.
Fun Fact: Picasso has 23 names (that’s 21 middle names)!
Museum of Modern Art
Where: New York, USA
Also known as MoMA, this museum in midtown Manhattan contains a collection of modern and contemporary art dating back to 1880, as well as performance art, design and film. Highlights include Monet and Van Gogh paintings. The museum is running virtual exhibition every Thursday.
Fun Fact: Most of the museum’s funding came from Abby Rockefeller because her famously wealthy husband, John Rockefeller, hated modern art and refused to financially support the project.
If you found this post useful, you might want to check out other ways to find out more about museums. As well as virtual tours, many also offer podcasts, online resources, and audio tours.
Don’t forget to also check out our post on Virtual Festivals.
Do you have any other virtual museum tours to add to this list?
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