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5 Stunning Virtual Museum Visits For When You’re Stuck at Home

The Great Court of the British Museum

Are you stuck at home during quarantine, but still craving art and culture? 2020 (see also: dumpster fire) has brought with it some unique challenges to travel lovers. Lucky for us, Google has partnered with a number of museums around the world to bring their collections to you, wherever you are. With a virtual museum, you can “stroll” the British Museum in your pajamas, or take a virtual lunch break at the Met while working from home. Perhaps it’s not all bad: there are no lines, no bustling tourists pushing forward to block the Mona Lisa, no unfortunate airline stories. You get to see these works up close, with no time limit, no expensive cafes, and no sore feet. 

Here are 5 museums offering virtual tours that you can enjoy from home:

British museum seen from the outside

1. The British Museum, London

The British Museum boasts a staggering 8 million (yes, MILLION) works. There are multiple ways to see the museum’s unique collection:

Visit the Museum of the World here: https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/

The museum has partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to bring viewers a virtual timeline of selected artworks. Visitors can explore by theme, time period, or geographic locale. Each object has in-depth information and an audio guide.

See the interior of the museum on Google Maps here.

Virtual museum visit inside of the British Museum with Google Maps
A screenshot from the Google Maps project.

The British Museum is the world’s largest indoor space available on Google Street view! Easily traverse the huge maze of galleries with no pesky tourists blocking your view of the Rosetta stone or a giant Lamassu. There are more than 60 galleries to explore, so make it a multi-day event!

Visit the museum’s Virtual Galleries here.

Visit specific galleries and Rooms of the British Museum. Some favorites are the Greece (Room 18), China and South Asia (Room 33) and Europe and the Middle East (Room 51). The Prints and Drawings collection contains everything from the sketches of Michelangelo to brand new works by contemporary artists.

2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Video still from Met 360

Check out The Met 360°Project here.

The Met 360° Project is a series of 6 videos using spherical 360° technology. This allows virtual visitors around the world to see the Met like never before. They’ve even made special arrangements to remove protective barriers, film time-lapses of spaces, and really get into the nooks and crannies of the museum. 

3. National Museum, New Delhi

Interior courtyard of the National Museum

The National Museum in New Delhi currently holds over 2 million pieces of art and artifacts spanning over 5000 years of history. It is considered the finest and largest museum in India. The museum has partnered with Google to present 7 online exhibits as well as multiple indoor street views to their galleries. My current favorite is the in depth look at calligraphy in the collection.

See their virtual exhibits and Google maps indoor views here.

4. The Louvre, Paris

Louvre museum from the outside with glass pyramid

The Louvre is offering seven guided virtual tours through it’s massive collection. There is something for everyone, including an in depth look at the medieval moat, a deep dive into the decorative collection, and a look around the ever-popular Egyptian Antiquities section. 

See the virtual tours here.

There is also a Mona Lisa VR experience. If you’ve ever visited the Louvre in person, you know that the Mona Lisa can be nigh impossible to get close to or enjoy. Tourists crush forward around the little banister that keeps the famous work a good distance from her many admirers. You will be lucky to get 30 seconds in front of DaVinci’s masterpiece. This virtual reality tour brings the story of the Mona Lisa to life like never before.

Enter the VR world of the Mona Lisa here.

5. Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), São Paulo

MASP building

MASP has partnered with Google to create 6 online exhibits as well as extensive indoor google street views. It was founded in 1947 as Brazil’s “first modern museum” and remains a non-profit, private institution.

See the featured exhibits here.

With so many museums to visit online, there is no end to the history and art you can dive into, even during lockdown. While we all wait for these institutions to open, we can sit in awe of their many offerings online.

Which museum was your favorite? Have you visited any of these museums in person?

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