As the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact our daily lives, you may find yourself at home on your couch a lot more than you normally would.
But just because you’re stuck in your apartment doesn’t mean you’re cut off from culture. You can wander through some of the world’s most iconic museums without having to leave the comfort of your home. Google’s Arts & Culture collection, street view, and official sites allow you to travel virtually around the globe.
The world’s most popular museums are now just a mouse click away thanks to incredible free virtual tours. We selected 10 famous ones.
Table of Contents
- #1. The Louvre, Paris
- #2. The Oriental Institute Museum
- #3. British Museum, London
- #4. National Museum of Natural History
- #5. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
- #6. Metropolitan Museum of Art
- #7. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- #8. The Dalí Theater and Museum – Figueres, Spain
- #9 The Bode Museum, Berlin
- #10. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
- #0. Google Arts & Culture
#1. The Louvre, Paris
The Louvre is one of the most famous and visited art museums on the planet, and while its online offering may not be as robust as some other museums, you can still view quite a few of its pieces from the comfort of your own home.
You can virtually explore the grounds of the museum where several impressive statues and pieces of artwork reside.
Right now there are 3 exhibits available: the popular Egyptian Antiquities exhibit, Remains of the Louvre’s Moat and Galerie d’Apollon
For panoramic views of the museum’s interior, you’ll have to go to the Louvre’s website where there are a few virtual tours available. You can find several items displayed on the Louvre site, however many of the descriptions are in French only.
Below you can watch a live two-hour walking tour of the Louvre:
Here is a 360-degree tour of the exterior of the Louvre Pyramid
#2. The Oriental Institute Museum
The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum showcases art and other archaeological finds of ancient civilizations from the Near East. The museum is home to permanent galleries featuring artefacts from ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and Megiddo.
The Oriental Institute Museum is dedicated to understanding the development of these ancient civilizations through ongoing research. As a result, visitors enjoy the latest finds from the current excavations.
What’s even better is that you don’t have to fly to the Windy City to enjoy these finds. Thanks to the 360-degree interactive tour, users can peruse antiquities from these regions and learn more about the history of these ancient civilizations.
#3. British Museum, London
The British Museum is a museum dedicated to human history, art, and culture, located in the Bloomsbury area of London. Its permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works, is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present
This iconic allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. You can also find hundreds of artefacts on the museum’s virtual tour.
#4. National Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex. With nineteen museums, gardens and zoos, you better believe they know how to curate interesting exhibits. The National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, maybe the Smithsonian Institution’s crown jewel, as it is one of the most popular museums in the entire world.
According to the Global Attractions Attendance report, it is the third most visited museum in the world, the most visited natural history museum in the world, and the most visited museum in North America.
The museum boasts over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, human remains, rocks, minerals and cultural artefacts. While you won’t be able to see them all, you can browse some of the museum’s permanent exhibits.
#5. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
The Vatican is a place many aspire to see regardless of whether or not they are Christian or even religious. It’s home to art from some of the most famous painters, sculptors, and architects of their time.
You can view many of the amazing spaces from home. Ever wondered what the Sistine Chapel looks like?
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican or simply St. Peter’s Basilica is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and one of the largest churches in the world. St. Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. You may visit it virtually here.
Here is a 3d virtual tour of Sistine Chapel with information narrated.
In 2019, they were visited by 7 million people, which combined makes it the 3rd most visited art museum in the world. Take a trip to Italy through your laptop tonight.
#6. Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Artis known around the world for its collections. The museum has created 360 videos you can view of the Great Hall, the Cloisters, the Temple of Dendur, the Met Breuer, The Charles Engelhard Court, and Arms and Armor Galleries.
You can view the videos via Google Cardboard or just watch the videos. While it’s not a full tour of the museum, you can still explore the art, the architecture, and history without making the trip.
#7. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
As the name suggests, the city’s Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s work in the world, with over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 personal letters — many of which can be viewed online.
#8. The Dalí Theater and Museum – Figueres, Spain
The Dalí Theater and Museum is one of the most interesting and popular museums in Northern Spain. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of Dalí’s work, and the building itself is a work of art.
The heart of the museum is the building that housed the town’s theatre when Dalí was a child, where one of the first public exhibitions of young Dalí’s art was shown. The old theatre was burned during the Spanish Civil War and remained in a state of ruin for decades.
In 1960, Dalí and the mayor of Figueres decided to rebuild it as a museum dedicated to the town’s most famous son. The artist himself is buried in the crypt below the stage in the theatre.
#9 The Bode Museum, Berlin
The Bode Museum is one of the groups of museums on Museum Island in Berlin, Germany. It was designed by architect Ernst von Ihne and completed in 1904.
Originally called the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum after Emperor Frederick III, the museum was renamed in honour of its first curator, Wilhelm von Bode, in 1956.
Visitors can now explore 35 rooms of Bode-Museum virtually from their home computers or on their smartphones. The virtual tour seamlessly stitches together 62 photographs, each providing a 360° panorama.
The virtual tour also provides information on each of the 850 photographed sculptures and paintings, and over 300 links to SMB-digital, the online database of the Staatliche Museen of Berlin.
#10. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
Since opening its door in 1969, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Korea has lived through the history of Korean art. In the process, MMCA established itself as a representative institution of Korean modern art.
This is one of Korea’s most popular museums. The virtual tour takes you through six floors of Contemporary art.
#0. Google Arts & Culture
While not technically a museum of its own, Google Art Project lets you access art from all over the world. Art Project works with more than 250 museums and institutions.
The artwork featured comes from 6,000+ artists. You can view 45,000 works in high definition. Projects include diverse subjects from the Holocaust to the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Palace of Versailles. With such a vast collection, you can see more than you ever could on a trip.
In conclusion, virtual tours might not be as good as the real thing, but they can be a useful tool to garner more information. Many museums around the world offer virtual tours, so be sure to check the website of your favourite to see if they offer one.
Finally, we’d like to know if you’ve ever been on a “virtual” museum tour. Did we leave your favourite off the list? Let us know in the comments.