30 Best Free Virtual Museum Tours Around the World You Can Take Online
Have you ever thought of watching famous works of art, starships, or dinosaur bones while lying down on your bed or without leaving the living room? In fact, that isn’t strange now, as museums often host online exhibitions. Yes, with the strong development of science and technology, virtual museum tours are able to use modern technological gadgets to give people the opportunity to visit, see artifacts, etc. anytime, anywhere.
In particular, during the coronavirus blockade, taking virtual museum tours around the world is a great choice to keep traveling and exploring while sitting still at home to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it makes even more sense to promote this new way of tourism, especially when it’s free. Does it sound exciting to you yet? Let’s go!
Google Art & Culture
Google Arts & Culture, formerly known as Google Art Project, is a great online museum where everyone can easily access and view so many works of art for free. Indeed, these are all very high-resolution images with up to billions of pixels. Launched about a decade ago, the project initially received support from 17 of the world’s most prestigious museums. To elaborate, the Tate Modern in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York, the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, and the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Over time, Google has expanded its cooperation with about 150 museums as well as art galleries in 40 countries around the world, including the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Spain, which also known as Queen Sofia Arts Center.
The Digital Museum of Canada
Digital Museum Canada (DMC) is formerly known as the Virtual Museum of Canada. The virtual museum used to have a huge network of heritage organizations and a database of online exhibitions. Presently, it’s a program that calls for funds and invests in online projects that engage the audience of Canadian museums and heritage organizations.
The database of DMC has a long list of funded projects in different subjects that will surely open your mind to many aspects and new knowledge. In truth, the virtual museum’s broad directory includes Art, Cultures, Heritage, History, Indigenous, Industry, Media, Military, Nature, Science, and Sport. Does it sound interesting for you to explore?
Louvre Museum – Paris
Social-distancing or lockdown resulted from coronavirus brings a great chance for museums to apply technologies to their exhibition, including Louvre Museum. Precisely, Louvre virtual museum tours will take you to its online exhibitions with The Advent of the Artist, Power Plays, The Body in Movement, Founding Myths: From Hercules to Darth Vader, Egyptian Antiquities, Remains of the Louvre’s Moat, and Galerie d’Apollon.
Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam
If you love to discover the work and life of Vincent Van Gogh, don’t forget to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Today, thanks to the museum’s online features, you are able to learn about the stories behind 2000 paintings here about life, scenes, and people as well as the talented painter’s life right from your home.
On top of that, Van Gogh’s most famous paintings are “Sunflowers” (1890), “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” (1890), “At Eternity’s Gate” or “Sorrowing Old Man” (1890), “The Starry Night” (1889), “Olive Trees” (1889), “The Night Café” (1888), and a series of his self-portrait, etc. are all on the homepage for you to comfortably admire.
Orangerie Museum – Paris
At the museum, you can explore a rich collection telling you the flow of art revolutionary from impressionism in the 19th century to 20th century art inspired by the era before. Besides that, Orangerie invites you to virtual view giant murals of Nymphéas, or Water Lilies, of the French Impressionist Claude Monet under 360° views.
The Broad – Los Angeles
I haven’t thought of a museum in this world that has a similar name to my travel blog – The Broad Museum and The Broad Life. That coincidence has fostered my decision to put The Broad on this list of virtual museum tours.
I’m just kidding. In fact, The Broad is a hub for contemporary art. Recently, the museum closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Notwithstanding, its From Home digital initiatives are still online to inspire visitors through performances, talks & conversations, artist spotlight, family art workshops, and other programs.
The British Museum – London
The iconic museum in central London takes you to the explorations of the world since 2,000,000 BC. Really, the virtual tour’s areas cover many topics including Art and Design, Living and Dying, Power and Identity, Religion and Belief, Trade and Conflict throughout human history to the modern days. I won’t be surprised if your history teacher is astonished by your knowledge from passing all the events in the online tour of the British Museum.
Guggenheim Museum – New York
The collaboration with Google Street View feature allows visitors to tour the famous Guggenheim spiral staircase. Not to mention, you can explore amazing artworks from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary eras. Moreover, Guggenheim exhibits works of art by world-famous artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, etc. Surely, Guggenheim Museum is the top destination in New York for any painting enthusiasts.
National Museum of Anthropology – Mexico City
It’s going to take you days to fully explore the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Indeed, the museum houses archaeological and anthropological artifacts dating from pre-Columbian times in Mexico. Its collection includes Sunstones and a room dedicated to Mayan culture. However, with the virtual museum tours, you can admire the ruins of art and ancient cultures of Mexico with ease. Truly, they have quite a lot of online exhibitions for you to experience.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Washington, D.C.
The National Museum of Natural History is managed by the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall complex in Washington, D.C., USA. Admission is free and open 364 days a year. Hence, it is the third most visited museum in the world and also the most visited museum in North America. The museum’s collection contains about 127.3 million specimens, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts. More specifically, the collections include 30 million insects, 4.5 million crops preserved in the museum’s gallery, and 7 million fish conserved in liquid containers.
In addition, virtual museum tours Smithsonian has many exhibits from the past to the present for users to self-explore. There are also narrated tours or tours to the stations and areas of the museum.
Uffizi Gallery – Florence
There aren’t many people who know the story of Uffizi. Initially, it was the place to keep the art collections of one of the most famous families in Florence, Italy. The building was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for the Grand Duke of Toscana – Cosimo I de ‘Medici.
Today, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the most valuable galleries in the world with its Renaissance cultural artifacts. With the benefits of the museum’s new virtual tour, you can easily visit and admire the magnificence of the artworks in this gallery. Evenly, they do have an online map applying 360° virtual tour for you to go around the museum as being there.
MASP – São Paulo
MASP is the abbreviation of the museum’s name in Portuguese – Museu de Arte de São Paulo. Truly, MASP not only isn’t just Brazil’s first museum but also one of the non-profit cultural centers.
MASP museum owns the largest and most complete collection of Western art from Latin America to the entire Southern Hemisphere. Currently, the museum has more than 8,000 works including paintings, sculptures, artifacts, and costumes from various periods in different cultures and arts such as Africa, Asia, Europe, and America from the 13th century to the present. On top of that, its unique showcase is the artworks placed on transparent acrylic glass frames. Thanks to that, the pictures have the effect of being floating in midair. Of course, you can view all of those through its online exhibition.
Benaki Museum – Athens
The museum houses Greek artworks from prehistoric times to modern times and a large Asian art collection. Alongside, it hosts periodic exhibitions and maintains a workshop on modern art restoration and preservation. In cyberspace, Benaki will take you on virtual museum tours through its 4 floors with a lot of exhibits. Indeed, you can freely access the online tours directly on its website, sounds cool?
Rijksmuseum – Amsterdam
The Rijksmuseum in the capital Amsterdam is the place to display the history of Dutch art from the Middle Ages. For instance, many famous artworks of the gifted artist are also preserved here such as “Self Portrait” (Vincent Van Gogh), “Night Watch” (Rembrandt), “The Threatened Swan” (Jan Asselijn), “The Love Letter ”(Johannes Vermeer), etc.
Thanks to the latest technology from Google Street View, Rijksmuseum is able to give us its real exhibition on the virtual world.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art – Korea
One of Korea’s famous museums that you can freely access from anywhere in the world. Factually, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art attracts a large number of visitors, especially young people every year. At this moment, by a collaboration with Google Art & Culture, MMCA takes you through its online exhibitions in the 4 branches. Furthermore, the museum itself contains hundreds of unique programs and artworks of Korean and international artists and sculptors.
Pergamonmuseum – Berlin
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin, Pergamonmuseum is located on Museum Island, which is famous for its possession of archaeological artifacts. Actually, the Pergamonmuseum is a combination of three small museums: Vorderasiatisches Museum, the Museum für Islamische Kunst, and the Antikensammlung. Therefore, this museum has a lot to explore. Especially, it is home to many massive archaeological structures including the Mshatta Facade, the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way from Babylon, and the Market Gate of Miletus.
Like many museums on the planet, Pergamonmuseum collabs with Google Art & Culture to showcase its enormous collections and 360 views.
Musée d’Orsay – Paris
You will feel like you are walking through this famous gallery via its virtual tour. Orsay Museum holds dozens of immortal artworks of French artists from 1848 to 1914. Hence, make sure you don’t miss any famous works of art here that come from Monet, Cézanne, Gauguin, etc.
National Gallery of Art – Washington, D.C.
This American art museum showcases two online exhibitions on Google Art & Culture. The first is a brief survey of American fashions from 1740 to 1895, which includes many costume performances from the colonial era to the time of the Industrial Revolution. Secondly, the gallery of artworks by Dutch Baroque artist Johannes Vermeer.
Museum of Broken Relationships – Zagreb and Los Angeles
I was significantly surprised right when accessing the website of the Museum of Broken Relationships, or Brokenships. Undeniably, it’s the first kind of museum I have ever seen in my life. Generally, you can think of this museum as a place that holds and shares stories and items of heartbroken people around the world.
At the moment, they have two museums in Zagreb and Los Angeles and tens of exhibitions across the globe. On the online site, you can see the heartbreaks that people pin to express their just-ended relationships. Exclusively, you can have a watch at Brokenships’ collection of items when the people are in love. Ok, curious yet?
National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has an extensive permanent collection of more than 66,000 artworks from Europe, Asia, America, and Oceania. Particularly, those works include sculptures, drawings, pictures, and antiques created by international and domestic artists like Bernini, Cézanne, Corregio, Manet, Monet, and Picasso, etc. Also, NGV organizes many major traveling exhibitions from Europe, America, and Asia.
Nowadays, you can visit the gallery right from your bed. NGV applying Matterport 3D Showcase to open virtual museum tours enjoying its exhibitions. Just make sure you walk through the gallery’s guidelines for using the system to take your online tour smoothly.
Vietnam National Museum of History – Hanoi
Vietnam is a country with a rich heritage and history. It’s also my home country. Therefore, it will be a deficiency in this list of virtual museum tours if I miss introducing the Vietnam National Museum of History. The museum stores, displays, and introduces the country’s history from prehistoric times to the present day in the most comprehensive and continuous manner. Therefore, this museum is ideal for oriental history lovers.
Being one of the first museums in Vietnam that take the trend of going digital, the Vietnam National Museum of History applies a 3D system to improve its visitor’s interaction. At present, you can take the 3D tours to view its online exhibitions including the Dong Son Culture, the Oc Eo Culture, the Prehistory of Vietnam, and the Dynasties of Ngo, Dinh, Tien, Le, Ly, Tran. There are also special exhibits of Vietnamese Antique Mascots, Buddhist Cultural Heritage, and Antique Lamps of Vietnam.
Hong Kong Heritage Museum
The museum is a storage that showcases the cultures and arts of Hong Kong as well as the nearby South China region. On its website, you can easily find the museum’s collections categorized into Local History, Performing Art, Folk Art, Popular Culture, Contemporary Art, Design, Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, and Chinese Antiquities. Alongside temporary exhibitions, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum permanently exhibits the Jin Yong Gallery, the Children’s Discovery Gallery, the Cantonese Opera Heritage Hall, the T.T. Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art, and the Chao Shao-an Gallery.
Excluding the collaboration with Google Art & Culture to showcase its collection, you can take a visit to the museum’s online programs with 3 virtual exhibitions.
Tate Modern – London
The Tate Modern has an extensive collection of contemporary and modern art which covers most of the trends from the early twentieth century. Especially, the museum is perhaps the most important place to keep contemporary British and international artworks from the 1980s to recent years.
At Tate Modern, you can learn more about its collections online right from the website. Or, you can explore the museum’s corners with 360° views on the platform of Google Art & Culture.
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is a major art museum in the world. It is also known for collections from the masters of impressionism and post-impressionism as well as leading artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Renault, and Calleport with more than 350 masterpieces. Also, the museum has one of the top three surrealist art collections in America.
Presently, the Art Insitute of Chicago is filling the gap between reality and virtual exhibitions by hosting its online events. Those series are including Virtual Talk, Virtual Lecturer, Virtual Intersections, etc. You must register to join those programs. But don’t worry, it’s free to join.
Museum of Modern Art – New York
In the brick-and-mortar version, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) boasts excellent architecture and a rather majestic collection of modern art. Besides, there are also many restaurants, cafes, and shops for visitors to relax and do shopping.
In the online version, MoMA brings virtual views of its modern artworks to visitors by applying a 3D model. For example: when clicking on Van Gogh’s Starry Night, you are able to learn about the story, watch a conversation, and explore the painting under a virtual 3D model. So, do you want to explore yet?
National Palace Museum – Taipei City
I will never forget my first trip traveling to Taipei, Taiwan as well as the National Palace Museum, which was also the first-ever tourist destination I visited in the country. At the moment, this museum is house to one of the world’s largest collections of Chinese art with about 700,000 artifacts spanning from the Qing, Ming, Yuan, and Song empires.
Today, those collections once again appear under the virtual museum tours for you to view right from our homes. To elaborate, they have up to 16 online exhibitions and 3 views on the platform of Google.
National Women’s History Museum
As the name, the museum was created to inspire and educate about women’s contribution to the society and history of the world. Right now, NWHM is totally a “museum without walls” with all the resources online. You can learn more about the pioneering women on its online exhibitions or read the stories, and articles on the website.
Studio Ghibli Museum – Mitaka
Do you know about Totoro, Princess Mononoke, or Kaonashi in Spirited Away? Yes, they are all the characters from Ghibli Studio, with Ghibli Museum to showcase their works.
Ghibli Museum is well-known for its strict rules of not allowing guests to take photos or videos when visiting the museum. You can’t even open your phone when getting inside the area. Nonetheless, you can now take a trip around the museum through YouTube videos while staying at home. Perhaps going digital is currently a trend among museums around the world, including the Studio Ghibli Museum.
The J. Paul Getty Museum – Los Angeles
J. Paul Getty Museum keeps European art from the Middle Ages to the Modern period. Particularly, the museum has thousands of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photos that give you a multi-dimensional view of European art, culture, and history from the 8th century to the present. Additionally, the J. Paul Getty Museum even gives you 360° views to explore all the corners of the museum.
Vatican Museums – Rome
As one of the most famous and admirable museums in the world, the Vatican Museums are also a valuable asset of the capital of Rome and the Vatican. Here, it showcases many valuable works of art from the large collections created by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries.
Alongside, the museum has one of the best virtual museum tours that not only host by itself but take visitors through many sections. Yes, you can explore 15 virtual tours of the museums and the archaeological areas with 360° views. There are also departments, restoration & scientific services, and masterpieces for you to learn. Is it great?
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