Visit Your Favourite Museum...Virtually!
In this time of social distancing, isolation and quarantine, there are many who may at this point be longing to participate in activities that we have enjoyed in the past or wanted to participate in but could never find the time. Well for those people and for many just looking for something different than checking out their Facebook page or watching the TV news, how does a (virtual) trip to the museum sound??
Although museums are typically set up for ‘live’ visits, many are well suited for online virtual tours that provide great visuals. There are also videos on specific topics that are often well received. The information and displays are of interest to young and old and may give families the opportunity to join together to learn and experience a large variety of accumulated knowledge from the comfort of their homes in a way never experienced before.
The good news is that much of the research and facilitation of such online tours has already been taken care of by Google Arts & Culture, who have teamed up with over 2500 museums and galleries from around the globe, many of them world famous, to present online visits and make the virtual tour experience user friendly and with almost endless variety of themes and specialties.
To view the Google Arts & Culture collection, visit their website. Below are listed some of the most popular, beginning with two from right here in Canada, with direct links to the Google content.
The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
The Royal Ontario Museum or ‘ROM’ as most locals refer to it, has an abundance of online exhibitions so extensive that it can take you days to fully explore. For an overview you can access highlights from more than 25 galleries. From Greek art to butterflies, you can learn about a variety of topics, see many artifacts and experience these in the best way possible next to being there in person, through their terrific Online Collection which further opens the Museum up to everyone, regardless of their location.
Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria
The Royal BC Museum Corporation is one of Canada’s greatest cultural treasures, collecting artifacts, documents and specimens of British Columbia’s natural and human history, safeguarding them for the future, and sharing them with the world. A special ‘Engage With Us from Home’ page has been set up with links to various portals and packages, which makes it easy to find materials that match your interests.
The Louvre, Paris
The Louvre Museum is the world's largest and most familiar art museum and a historic monument unto its own in Paris, France. A visit to museum's site features exhibition rooms and galleries and the opportunity to simply contemplate its various façades. A virtual reality project around its most famous art piece called ‘Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass’ is profiled in a YouTube video presentation. You can also enjoy a virtual tour of this fantastique museum.
British Museum, London
This iconic museum physically located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. In its Google-based page, aptly named ‘The Museum of the World’, you can also find hundreds of artifacts on the museum’s virtual tour, each with an audio recording describing the artifact plus its history and relationship to culture and history. A very interesting ‘tour’!
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Google’s Street View feature lets visitors tour the Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase without ever leaving home. From there, you can discover incredible works of art from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras. This site features one of the most extensive variety of displays and subject matter that could occupy a curious mind for days if not weeks!
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
This famous American art museum features two online exhibits through Google. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
This popular art museum is housed in a refurbished historical building in the heart of Paris that began as a railway station with a unique and prized architecture. This gallery features the capability to virtually walk through displays housing dozens of famous works by French artists living and working between 1848 and 1914. Visitors will see artworks from Monet, Cézanne, and Gauguin, among others.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
For those with interest in contemporary art, this museum is sure to please. From this link, one of Korea’s most popular museums can be accessed by anyone from anywhere. Google’s virtual tour allows you to tour all six floors of contemporary art from Korea and artists all over the globe.
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Pergamon is one of Germany’s largest museums and has a lot to offer – even if you can’t physically be there. Pergamon was an Ancient Greek city in what is now Turkey. This historical museum features many ancient artifacts including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and, of course, the Pergamon Altar.
Art fans know that the Dutch Masters created a unique and popular art style. This museum features many of their greatest works from the Dutch Golden Age, including those from Vermeer and Rembrandt. On this site, Google has set up a Street View tour of this iconic museum, that makes viewers feel as if you’re physically there admiring the displays.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Having a museum set up for a single artist is testament to their greatness and contribution to the craft. Fans of this tragic, ingenious painter can check out his works in a very realistic tour-like experience by virtually visiting this museum – the world’s largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh artworks, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters!
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
European artworks from as far back as the 8th Century can be found in this California art museum located in Malibu. The pieces displayed here were accumulated over many years by oil magnate J. Paul Getty (1892-1976), an avid collector of art and antiquities. Follow this link to enjoy a Street View tour and discover this huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs.
Online tours are featured for NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia and Glenn Research Center in Ohio. The Langley centre itself has more than 15 different facilities offered, while the Glenn centre has another 10 to check out. Another NASA destination is The Space Center Houston's app featuring some interesting space travel related photo collections that are sure to please!
The Vatican Museum, Vatican City
This site features parts of the Vatican that most are unable to view when visiting in person at this independent state located within the city of Rome, Italy. Altogether 6 different virtual tours are available on the Vatican's virtual tour site, including The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and Raphael's Room. Check out the wonderful architecture and famous religious frescos visible on these tours!
Enjoy your visits and tours and be sure to let us know which one you liked the most!
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