A Virtual Tour of Global Museums & Landmarks
Those once-packed museum and galleries, sit empty and silent, but our social distancing doesn’t need to quarantine us from the art which ‘makes us breathe a different kind of happiness.’ Elena Panayides explores the online collections, virtual tours and museum technology that is transforming our homes into cultural hubs.
The paintings, sculptures, and art-installations are most-likely wondering where the hordes of tourists and art lovers have all gone, as they remain shuttered and vacant. The weeks of social distancing and quarantine are passing and our need for stimulation beyond films and series is kicking in for us all. Many parents are also appreciating school teachers more than ever, now that they’ve been thrown into the roles of home school-mistresses and masters. In response to this mass need for intellectual stimulation, museum technology is stepping up to fill that artistic void by providing us with a vast array of virtual retreats to art, culture, science and history around the globe. These are some of our favourite gateways to the museums, galleries and landmarks we imagine ourselves at for now, and will find ourselves at in the future.
- ArtUK: Art collections from 3,200 UK organizations
- Europeana: 50,000,000 European works of art, books, music, and more
- Google Arts & Culture: +2,000 museum partners from +80 countries
- NASA Image & Video Library: All NASA content is in the public domain
- Open Culture Coloring Pages: 113 museum colouring books
- Paris Museums: Over 300,000 works
- Past Perfect Online: Digital collections from over 900 museums
- Science Museum Group: 325,000+ objects from 5 UK science museums
- SHOW ME: Games, collections, videos, stories from museums and galleries
- Smithsonian Open Access: Search 2.8 million images and 3D Models
- V21ArtSpace: Over 100 exhibit virtual tours
Global Art Museums
- Armory Art Center: Explore a virtual gallery tour of this Florida art center’s 2020 ‘All Artists Show’, an annual exhibition held at the institution.
- The Art Institute of Chicago: A large catalogue of pieces are available for virtual viewing at this world-renowned art museum, hosted by Google Arts and Culture, which has grouped the works by style of art.
- The British Museum: Check out ancient mummies, the Rosetta Stone and so much more with this virtual tour of the world’s oldest national public museum.
- The Dalí Theatre-Museum, Spain: in Catalonia, Spain, this is the self-curated collection of perhaps the greatest surrealist painter of our time.
- Detroit Institute of Arts: This art museum has four different online exhibits, including two focused on feminist icon Frida Kahlo.
- Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: Explore six virtual exhibits at this Santa Fe-based museum, which preserves Georgia O’Keeffe’s artistic legacy.
- The State Heritage Museum, Russia: Five hours, that’s how long you’ll need to dedicate to the second-largest art museum in the world when you settle in to watch this incredible, one-take video experience
- Getty Museum: Travel through two different virtual exhibits from this Los Angeles landmark with Google Arts and Culture.
- The Guggenheim: The entire contemporary art collection is available for online viewing from this New York City art museum. Enjoy walking (virtually) through its famous spiralling halls.
- The Louvre: Take a quick trip to Paris with virtual tours of three stunning exhibits at this world-renowned museum. Avoid the crowds peering at the Mina Lisa!
- Metropolitan Museum of Art: Explore 26 online exhibits at this famous New York City icon. A 360 degree peek behind the scenes of The Costume Institute Conversation Lab (the world’s largest costume collection) is a must-see.
- MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art): Viewers can go on a virtual tour of the New York City-based museum’s exhibit of Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Embrace your artistic side with 16 virtual exhibits. Fashionistas in particular will fall head over high heels for their 21st Century Designer Fashion and 20th and 21st Century Fashion Accessories exhibits.
- Smithsonian: Explore a self-guided tour of the Washington D.C. museum’s National Museum of Natural History.
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC: The Guggenheim is its own kind of artistic wonder, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to Google Street View, you can still descend its spiral rotunda, taking in renowned works of impressionist, post-impressionist, modern, and contemporary art
- Van Gogh Museum: The largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh pieces is located at this museum in Amsterdam, and you can explore it with a 360 degree virtual tour.
- The Vatican Museum: Explore the New Wing, Sistine Chapel and so much more with 360 degree virtual tours.
Global Historic Museums
- Cliffe Castle Museum: Virtual Tour
- Dundas Museum & Archives: 360-degree Virtual Tour
- Florence as it Was: 3D models of Florentine buildings, artworks, and squares
- Museum of Flight: Virtual Tour
- Museum of the American Revolution: Virtual Tour
- National Archaeological Museum, Spain: Virtual Museum
- The Palace Museum: The Forbidden City, China, 360-degree Virtual Tour
- Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum: Virtual Tour
- Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania: 360-degree Equipment Tour
- Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello: Virtual Tour
- Westminster Abbey: Virtual Tour
Global Natural Science Museums
- The Ecotarium Museum of Science: 360-degree Virtual Tour
- Luxembourg National Museum of National History: Virtual Tour
- NASA Langley Research Center: Virtual Tour
- National Museum of Natural History, US: Virtual Tour
- Oxford University Museum of Natural History: Virtual Tour with audio commentary
- Science Museum, London: Shipping Galleries Virtual Tour
US National Parks
- American Battlefield Trust: 360-degree Battlefield Tours
- Valley Forge National Park, US: Virtual Tour
- Yellowstone National Park, US: Virtual Tours
- Yosemite National Park, US: Virtual Tour
- Buckingham Palace, England: Flights to the U.K. may be cancelled, but you can still visit Buckingham Palace thanks to the official Royal website, which offers a virtual tour of the Queen’s official residence.
- Doge’s Palace, Italy: Google Arts and Culture offers a virtual tour of one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks — a 14th century palace — complete with views of the canals that surround it.
- Galapagos Islands: Embark on a guided video tour of the incredible wildlife and culture of the Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions.
- Great Barrier Reef, Australia: Swim through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with the help of several David Attenborough-narrated videos and an educational, interactive map.
- Great Wall of China: Take a virtual tour of one of the Seven Wonders of the World with The China Guide and explore its most visited sections.
- Hang Son Doong, Vietnam: Take a 360 degree adventure through the world’s largest cave, located in Vietnam, with National Geographic.
- Johnson Space Center, USA: Boeing and Discovery Education take viewers on a virtual field trip through this innovative, Houston-based space centre.
- National Parks, USA: 113 virtual tours of National Park Service locations are available on Google Arts and Culture. Some favourites include Yellowstone National Park (for miles and miles of beautiful views), Kenai Fjords National Park (for an icy adventure) and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (for lots of lava).
- Tower Bridge, England: This famous London bridge isn’t going down anytime soon — and you can explore it virtually (by boat!)
- White House, USA: No need to look your best for this trip to the White House in Washington, D.C. Google Arts and Culture has virtual tours of several of the presidential spaces.
- The Gardens of Versailles, France: Choose your own adventure and virtually explore the famously over-the-top royal gardens of King Louis XIV.