As a growing number of countries go into lockdown due to Covid-19, a lot of businesses, entertainment venues and public spaces have been forced to close their doors, while millions of people are stuck indoors with an abundance of extra time on their hands. But thanks to the power of technology, you can still visit some of the world’s most famous museums without having to get off the couch.
Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with over 2,500 museums and galleries around the world to create a series of virtual tours and photographic highlights from each institution. The digital platform, which original launched in 2016, features some of the most prestigious museums and heritage sites on the planet, sharing treasures from the likes of the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and even the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
While it’s hard to beat the experience of strolling through a museum in person and enjoying a piece of fine art with your own two eyes, it’s nice to know that Google can, or at least attempt to, fill the gap in these uncertain times.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Boasting a collection of more than two million items, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s largest art museums. Its extensive collection ranges from ancient Egyptian artefacts to the Costume Institute’s collection of more than thirty-three thousand objects representing seven centuries of fashionable dress from the fifteenth century to today. Current online exhibitions include the couture designs of Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, as well as an in-depth look at works by Johannes Vermeer, a Dutch Baroque Period painter best known for ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’.
British Museum, London
Opened in 1759, London’s British Museum houses a variety of relics and artefacts originating from diverse cultures all around the globe. The virtual tour of this iconic museum allows you to take a journey through various periods of history and view a multitude of paintings, sculptures and statues, including world-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and Egyptian mummies.
The Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
Dedicated to Anne Frank’s life, the Amsterdam based museum has created a digital exhibit which lets you take a look at where the teenager and her family hid from Nazis during World War II. Online visitors can watch videos about her life and virtually explore the Secret Annex.
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is one of Korea’s only museums dedicated to Modern and Contemporary Art and is spread out over four buildings across the country (Gwacheonand, Deoksugung, Seoul and Cheongju).
You can enjoy a virtual tour of MMCA Seoul, in the heart of the city, which spans multiple floors and offers a collection of global Contemporary art from Korea and around the world.
The Acropolis Museum, Athens
Founded in 2003, the Acropolis is an archaeological museum that focuses on the findings of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum, which sits on top of the excavation site, was built to house every artefact found on the rock and surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. Visitors can enjoy a virtual stroll through the museum or click through a series of marble and limestone sculptures.
The Palace of Versailles, Versailles
The Palace of Versailles has been listed as a World Heritage Site for 30 years and was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. Today, The Palace of Versailles is one of the most visited cultural sites in the world. Thanks to the power of technology you can take an online look at the landmark’s famous Hall of Mirrors, Royal Opera, Grand Trianon and beautiful gardens, along with the dwellings of its most infamous resident, Marie Antoinette.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world. The collection includes over 200 paintings, 500 drawings and over 750 personal letters, most of which is offered for viewing online alongside in-depth descriptions. There’s also an online exhibit that delves into the tortured Dutch artist’s love life.
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
In the heart of Paris on the banks of the Seine, the Musée d’Orsay is famed for its vast collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, as well as the grandeur of the Gare d’Orsay, a former Beaux-Arts structure, where the museum is housed. The online exhibition showcases how the museum came to be, from its origins as a railway station built between 1898 and 1900 through to the present day. Works by prominent painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Seurat can also be viewed online.