Lifestyle | travel

10 famous museums that offer virtual tours

By Jenn Fields and Jessica Suss
Mar 25, 2020
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With the coronavirus pandemic, museums all over the world are shutting down, as are schools. But with parents suddenly teaching from home and field trips to museums canceled, there’s some good news: You can take a free virtual tour of many of the best museums around the world, from Europe to Washington, D.C. All you need is your computer (and maybe a book about art history) to get started.

While there are innumerable museums you can visit from the comfort of your own home, here are a selection of our favorites.

1. The Louvre

You don’t want to go to Paris right now, but you can visit this incredible museum online. You can find online tours of some of the Louvre’s most important exhibits, such as the wildly popular Egyptian Antiquities hall.

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. 🇫🇷 Mercredi, c’est #HistoireDuLouvre ! Promenons-nous aujourd’hui dans la Grande Galerie. 👣 – 🕰 Construite entre 1595 et‪ 1609‬, cette longue galerie permettait à l'origine de relier le Louvre au palais des Tuileries. Espace de circulation pour le souverain et ses proches, le décor inachevé avait été commandé à Nicolas Poussin. La galerie abrite, tout au long du XVllle siècle, la collection royale de plans-reliefs des villes fortifiées. – 🔎 Elle est par la suite destinée à la présentation du futur musée royal, qui n'ouvre ses portes qu'en pleine Révolution, le 10 août 1793. Sous l’Empire, les architectes Percier et Fontaine rythment la galerie par des groupes de colonnes. Réduite du tiers de sa longueur sous le Second Empire, elle est alors pourvue de deux rotondes décorées de stucs par Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse. La Grande Galerie abrite aujourd’hui la collection de peintures italiennes. – – – – 🌍 Wednesday, it’s #LouvreHistory ! Today, let’s take a walk on the Grande Galerie. 👣 – 🕰 Built between 1595 and 1609, this long gallery was originally used to connect the Louvre to the Palais des Tuileries. It was first a circulation area for the king and his family. The unfinished decoration was commissioned from Nicolas Poussin. The Gallery housed, throughout the 18th century, the royal collection of relief maps of fortified towns. – 🔎 It was later reserved for the presentation of the future Royal Museum, which only opened its doors during the Revolution, on August 10, 1793. Under the Empire, Percier and Fontaine divided up the gallery with groups of columns. Under the Second Empire, its lenght was reduced by a third, and two rotundas were added, decorated with stuccos by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse. The Grande Galerie now houses the collection of Italian paintings. – 📷©️Musée du Louvre / Maëlys Feunteun . . . #Louvre #MuseeduLouvre #LouvreChezVous #MuseumFromHome #Culturecheznous

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2. Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, is a trove ancient sculpture and paintings, not to mention its collection of Renaissance and Baroque art, and you can virtually wander its galleries through the Google Arts and Culture app. Google’s Street View lets you explore the galleries, and the bonus here is that you’ll get to look up and down and out the windows to see the building itself, which was designed in 1560 on orders from a member of the Medici family to house the Granducal Magistratures of Tuscany. Current online exhibits at the Uffizi include “Piero di Cosimo, ‘Perseus Freeing Andromeda'” and “The Creative Process Behind Federico Barocci’s Drawings.”

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Sulla tomba di Raffaello nel Pantheon di Roma si legge questo epitaffio: “Ille hic est Raphael timuit quo sospite vinci, rerum magna parens et moriente mori”. (Qui giace quel Raffaello di cui la natura, mentre era vivo, ebbe timore d’esserne vinta e, mentre moriva, di morire con lui). Lo scrisse Pietro Bembo, amico carissimo di Raffaello, per rendere omaggio al grande pittore, morto, secondo alcune fonti, il 6 aprile di 500 anni fa, a soli 37 anni. Ed è proprio da questa data che inizia il percorso della mostra “RAFFAELLO. 1520-1483”, da oggi aperta al pubblico alle Scuderie del Quirinale fino al 2 giugno, ripercorrendo a ritroso tutta l’avventura creativa dell’artista fino alla giovinezza. Per la prima volta sono riunite circa 204 opere, di cui 49 provenienti dalle Gallerie degli Uffizi, delle quali oltre 30 dello stesso Raffaello. Dopo un delicato intervento di restauro durato tre anni e curato dall’Opificio delle Pietre Dure, è finalmente possibile ammirare uno dei capolavori del Maestro urbinate, il “Ritratto di Leone X”, il Papa che, insieme a Giulio II -anch’esso presente in mostra- furono i suoi mecenati e più importanti committenti #RaffaelloInMostra • 🌎ENG: In Rome, on Raphael’s tomb in the Pantheon, one can read a Latin epitaph written by famous Renaissance Italian poet Pietro Bembo, friend of the painter, which says: “Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die”. Such was the tribute paid to the “divine painter”, who, according to many, died on 6 April, 500 years ago, at only 37. And it is right from this date that the “RAFFAELLO. 1520-1483" exhibition, open to visitors in Rome from today, starts to go back all through the artist’s career, from the end to the beginning. For the first time, around 204 works are gathered together, including 49 from the Uffizi Galleries, among which more than 30 are by Raphael. Finally on display, after a delicate 3-year restoration, is one of his masterpieces: the "Portrait of Leo X”, the Pope who, together with Pope Julius II, whose portrait also is on view, were his most illustrious patrons. Scuderie del Quirinale 5.03 | 2.06.2020

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3. National Gallery of Art

If you’re visiting D.C., a trip to the National Gallery of Art is a must. Not only is the museum free, but it is incredibly well-stocked with a wide variety of artwork. If you’re not visiting our nation’s capital, you can take a virtual tour of its gallery and exhibits, which currently include “Degas at the Opéra” and “Raphael and His Circle.” It’s not quite as good as the real thing…but you can get your museum fix while still in your pajamas.

The gallery also announced it would be holding virtual tours via Instagram Stories. Here’s the post for the first day’s tour, of Gallery 39 on the Ground Floor of the West Building. It includes art from Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and this image, “Mound of Butter” by Antoine Vollon.

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🧈 Pass the butter, please. Today, we start our gallery by gallery tour on the Ground Floor of the West Building in gallery 39. Among the 19th-century still life paintings by the French artists Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, is “Mound of Butter” (1875/1885) by Antoine Vollon. Vollon magically made oil paint mimic the texture of butter—it looks ready to smear on a slice of bread. Unlike the individually wrapped sticks we’re used to today, in the 19th-century butter would have come wrapped in cheesecloth, with individual portions cut off with a knife. The eggs provide a sense of scale, illustrating just how immense the hunk of butter really is. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ See more of gallery 39 in our Instagram Story and hear from @kimberlyjones285, the Gallery’s curator of 19th-century French paintings, on why “Mound of Butter” is one of her favorite paintings. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Stay tuned as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery during our temporary closure—each day we’ll focus on one gallery, and the works of art on view within it. #MuseumFromHome #MyNGADC

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4. National Women’s History Museum

It’s no secret that women run the world, and now there’s an entire museum dedicated to the hard work of our foremothers. Located in historic Alexandria, Virginia, the National Women’s History Museum was founded to celebrate “women’s distinctive history and culture in the United States.” If you want to get educated and be inspired, check out their online exhibits. You can learn about everything from women in World War II to suffragettes to the rights of women throughout American history. The museum also has digital classroom resources for at-home learning.

Secretaries, housewives, waitresses, women from all over central Florida are getting into vocational schools to learn…

Posted by National Women's History Museum on Thursday, April 9, 2015

5. Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)

Home to Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” the Museum of Modern Art is yet another institution you can visit virtually through Google’s Arts and Culture app. MoMa is currently running an exhibit featuring the geometric abstraction of Swiss artist, architect and designer Sophie Taeuber-Arp.

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Swipe left to discover something new at MoMA → Two views of the Moon, painted decades and worlds apart. #VincentvanGogh heralded modern painting’s new embrace of mood, expression, symbol, and sentiment with #TheStarryNight. Inspired by the view from his window at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy, in southern France, #StarryNight is both an exercise in observation and a clear departure from it. In thick, sweeping brushstrokes, a flamelike cypress unites the churning sky and the quiet village below. The village was partly invented, and the church spire evokes #VanGogh's native land, the Netherlands. Experience his masterpiece in Gallery 501: 19th-Century Innovators. #TarsiladoAmaral first showed "A Lua (The Moon)" in Paris, soon after she painted it in 1928. With works like this, the Brazilian artist debuted a new style distinct from anything on the Parisian scene: sensuous, highly stylized landscapes and depictions of daily life rendered in a rich palette of saturated color. In this fantastical scene, a lone cactus in the foreground begins to take on the characteristics of a human figure. The wavy curves of a rippling stream, a quarter moon, and an undulating horizon resonate, infusing Amaral’s world with dreamlike qualities. See "The Moon" in Gallery 514: Paris 1920s. #MoMACollection #newMoMA — [Left to right: Vincent van Gogh. "The Starry Night" (detail). Saint Rémy, June 1889. Oil on canvas. 29 x 36 1/4" (73.7 x 92.1 cm); Tarsila do Amaral. "The Moon." 1928. Oil on canvas. 43 5/16 × 43 5/16" (110 × 110 cm)]

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6. J. Paul Getty Museum

Los Angeles’ Getty Center is currently closed, but you can visit it virtually via Google’s Arts and Culture app and tour the galleries on Google Street View. You can explore the museum’s photography collection online, including its U.S. photo collection, as well as current exhibits like “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.”

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The Johnson Publishing Company archive is the most significant collection illustrating African American life in the 20th century—it contains over four million prints and negatives. . Last year the archive was acquired by the @fordfoundation, Getty, @macfound, the @mellonfdn, and the @Smithsonian in an effort to safeguard this unparalleled treasure of African American history and culture for public benefit. . Carla Hayden of the Library of Congress will lead the advisory council, which will advise on the JET/Ebony collection and its donation for broad public use, with the goal of making these images available to the public. Teams at Getty and Smithsonian are currently working diligently to process the archive. . Check out the #linkinbio for the full announcement.

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7. British Museum

The British Museum’s online Museum of the World project puts the museum’s collection on a virtual timeline that you can explore through several lenses, such as art and design, religion and belief, and trade and conflict. The timeline starts with prehistory and runs up into the modern era, and virtual visitors can select items from each continent, read about their place in culture at that time and check out related objects in the museum’s collection.

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It’s #BritishScienceWeek! 🔬🧪🧫 2020 marks 100 years since the creation of the ‘Research Laboratory’ at the Museum, so this year we’re celebrating the ground-breaking work our scientists have done over the last century. Scientist Dr Kate Fulcher has been investigating the ‘black goo’ found in ancient Egyptian coffins. Her research has revealed that this goo, which was ritually applied during funerals, was made up of plant oils, animal fat, beeswax and bitumen. Learn more about Kate’s findings and other amazing work done by our Scientific Research Department in our special 100th-anniversary blog via today’s link in our bio. #BritishScienceWeek #BSW20 #BritishMuseum #history #science #WomenInScience

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8. National Museum, New Delhi

India’s National Museum specializes in Indian works of art, but their collection isn’t limited to the subcontinent. The current virtual exhibits include “Art of Calligraphy,” “Indian Bronzes” and “Pottery from Ancient Peru.” You can peruse two galleries on Google Street View: the main gallery, and the bronze gallery.

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When a picture is worth a thousand words. . . Participating in @mapbangalore #womeninmuseums Campaign, we have selected this remarkable painting from our Miniature Painting Collection. . The painting is unique in many ways as seldom do we come across paintings from this time period where the artists have been identified . It is quite rare to find a woman artist depicted alongside her male counterparts. Here we have our #bosslady artist Bhaktan Jindi seated in the centre and flanked by other master artists of Mewar( left to right: Chand, Bhaktan Jindi,Kanha,Chitar). . . Did you know that Bhaktan Jindi is so far the first reported lady artist? . . Five Master artists of Mewar I Mewar I c. 1750 AD . . #womeninart #5womenartists #NMminiaturecollection #bosslady #museumnetworking #bhaktanjindi

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9. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Want to see masterpieces from Rembrandt and Vermeer? This museum in the Netherlands, home to many paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, is the museum for you. The Rijksmuseum created its own app for you to take virtual tours of the museum. You can even select your favorite works of art and let the app create a tour that takes you to them. The building itself is also gorgeous and you can tour it on Google Street View. The museum is also giving virtual tours on Instagram during the coronavirus closure.

10. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

South Korea’s national modern-art museum is also on Google’s Arts and Culture app, and one of the current virtual exhibits provides an introduction into the country’s modern art movement. “The 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Korean Modern Masters” even zooms in on some paintings for a closer look.

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국립현대미술관 청주 1일 가족탐방기 ⠀ 국립현대미술관 청주에서는 관람객들이 국민의 재산이기도 한 소장품을 자유롭게 감상하고, 관람객 스스로가 미술관 공간과 콘텐츠를 자유롭게 즐기며 예술과 소통하는 시간을 보낼 수 있다. 친구, 가족, 연인과 잊지 못할 추억을 남기고 싶다면, 청주로 떠나보자.⠀ ⠀ * MMCA 뉴스레터에서 국립현대미술관 청주 1일 가족탐방기를 만나보세요. * 휴관 예정 기간: 2020. 2. 24.(월) – 2020. 3. 22.(일) ⠀ #MMCA_뉴스레터 #비하인드 #국립현대미술관청주 #MMCA #보존과학 #라키비움 #수장고 #현대미술 #contemporaryart #Larchiveum #newsletter

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You can also visit historic places such as Anne Frank House, Ford’s Theater and the Palace of Versailles through the Google Arts and Culture app. Get your culture fix without leaving your couch!

Originally published on Simplemost.