10 Of The Best Virtual Museum Tours Around The World
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The largest art museum in the US has multiple online features to guide home-bound visitors through its collection of more than two million works. Among these are MetCollects, which introduces works of art that have recently been added to the museum’s collection; The Artist Project, a series of videos of artists such as John Baldessari, Xu Bing and Teresita Fernández reflecting on works that have inspired them; and audio guides in ten different languages, which talk visitors through the Met’s key exhibitions and locations.
M+, Hong Kong
M+ Stories is the digital platform of the upcoming M+ museum of visual culture, which is due to open next year at the West Kowloon Cultural District. The site contains a huge range of content covering art, architecture and design, including video interviews with artists, blogposts from curators and academics, and interactive quizzes. Artists from Hong Kong are featured prominently—highlights include video interviews with the late, great photographer Fan Ho and rising star Wong Ping.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon
Google’s Arts & Culture tool lets you walk through the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Gwacheon, South Korea as easily as you can walk through a city on Google Maps, giving you a close-up view of the design, craft, architecture and visual arts in the museum’s collection. On top of that, MMCA is currently hosting four online shows—The 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Korean Modern Masters: Yoo Youngkuk 1916-2002, Park Hyunki 1942-2002 Mandala, Garden, and Birth of a Museum: Documenting the Construction of MMCA, Seoul—all of which feature informative write-ups alongside the artworks.
The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, Los Angeles
Explore European, Asian and American artworks spanning the 8th to 21st centuries at the J. Paul Getty Museum. In addition to its virtual tour offered by Google Arts & Culture, two online exhibitions are currently on show: Heaven, Hell and Dying Well, which presents images of death in the Middle Ages, and Eat, Drink and Be Merry, a look at the depiction of food in art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
See also: These American National Parks Are Offering Free Virtual Tours
The Vatican Museums, Rome
The museums of the Vatican City house masterpieces amassed by the Roman Catholic Church and include some of the most important ancient Roman sculptures and Renaissance artworks in the world. Its website offers virtual tours of seven of its 26 museums: the Pio Clementino Museum, the Chiaramonti Museum, the New Wing, the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms, the Niccoline Chapel and the Room of the Chiaroscuri.
A Dutch museum dedicated to art and history, the Rijksmuseum houses 8,000 pieces that span 800 years in 80 galleries. In its collection are several famous works of the Dutch Golden Age, including The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer and The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn. Appreciate the museum’s architecture through eight virtual tours, examine 11 online exhibitions, or browse through hundreds of thousands of individual artworks.
See also: The Famed Globe Theatre In London Is Streaming Shakespeare’s Plays Online
Museu de Arte de São Paulo, São Paulo
Founded by Brazilian businessman Assis Chateaubriand in 1947, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo is famous for its striking concrete-and-glass headquarters designed by modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi and its vast collection of more than 8,000 works of art. Its online exhibitions include Art from Brazil until 1900 and Art from France: from Delacroix to Cézanne.
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Musée d’Orsay’s collection—much of which is available to view on Google Arts & Culture—includes some of the most famous paintings in history, including Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait (1889), Édouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass (1862-1863) and Blue Water Lilies (1916-1919) by Claude Monet. Google’s platform also includes an online exhibition documenting the history of the museum’s building, which was previously a train station and hotel.
See also: 13 Things You've Been Meaning To Do But Never Had The Time...Until Now
The Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao
On top of being one of the most celebrated works of contemporary architecture in the world, the Guggenheim Bilbao is also home to major works of modern and contemporary art, such as a monumental 100-metre-long sculpture by Richard Serra and works by Willem De Kooning, Mark Rothko and Jenny Holzer. Both the museum’s architecture and art can be explored on Google Arts & Culture, which commissioned a short film, Defying Gravity, that leads visitors around and into the museum.
National Gallery, London
More than 2,300 works of art dating from the 13th to mid 20th century are housed in the National Gallery, which is located on London’s famous Trafalgar Square. Virtual tours are available of eight galleries, bringing you up close to works by Titian, Veronese and Holbein.
See also: 7 Global Cultural Experiences You Can Enjoy From Home