April 1, 2020
Get Out to a Museum or Art Gallery — with Virtual Tours
As we do our best to be conscientious of the safety of ourselves and those around us during this global health crisis, staying indoors and isolating ourselves can seem like a daunting, if necessary, prospect. But with the brilliance of modern technology, there is no shortage of meaningful and culturally enriching ways to pass the time and allow us to virtually leave home.
Museums and Art Galleries, United States
Thanks to Google Arts and Culture’s work with over 2,500 museums, galleries, and landmarks across the globe, we’re fortunate enough to be able to take virtual tours of their spaces. It takes only a few clicks to revisit beloved museums right here in the city or wander the halls of faraway places you haven’t had a chance to see in person. Better yet, the site is conveniently organized for you to not only seek out a particular location or museum but also to browse through the entire catalog to follow works by a particular artist, art movement, medium, color, or anything else that catches your fancy.
Highlights of the virtual tours start right in NYC, as the Metropolitan Museum of Art features one of the most expansive online collections, with twenty-seven exhibits (known as “stories”) available for your viewing pleasure. These include lovely and unexpected surprises, such as a selection of Christian Dior’s ball gowns or the ensembles of Coco Chanel.
For those with a more scientific bent, the iconic American Museum of Natural History showcases its most memorable displays, including its towering dinosaur replicas, the sapphire Star of India, and an African elephant. This is also a great choice for curious kids while you give yourself a break from homeschooling.
Other Great American Art Museums:
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Portrait Gallery
Detroit Institute of Arts
Art Institute of Chicago
The J. Paul Getty Museum
Museums and Art Galleries, Worldwide
Or you can leave the country entirely — peruse the largest selection of works by Van Gogh in the Netherlands, learn the fascinating history and marvel at stunning architecture in the Palace of Versailles, take in the striking, deeply personal art of Frida Kahlo in Mexico City.
Other Famous World Art Museums:
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
The State Hermitage Museum
See the Great Outdoors Inside at Sites Your Children Will Particularly Enjoy
But museums aren’t the only ones keeping people entertained and engaged in these difficult times. Animal aficionados will be thrilled to know California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Diego Zoo are streaming live feeds of the animals, while lovers of the cosmos can explore the surface of Mars to their heart’s content through NASA’s Access Mars platform. And if you just want to bring lush greenery into your city apartment, multiple National Parks also offer virtual visit options on Google’s Arts and Culture site.
With the wealth of tour options available on the internet, it is easy to while away the coming weeks with museum-hopping and digital globe-trotting. You can even come away with a souvenir of your online travels, as many of the sites also feature gift shops — and who isn’t in the market for a beautiful and time-consuming 1,000-piece puzzle of Monet’s Water Lilies nowadays?