As Canadians close their doors post COVID-19 and settle into their new normal, many are yearning for some sort of social stimulation as a way to keep busy. Of the many complications that come with self isolation, cabin fever is one of, if not the most, difficult to manage. After all it’s only human nature to want what you can’t have, including that trip to Tuscany you’ve been dreaming about since last year. To date, a lot of online resources have become available to curb the boredom. Now, thanks to technology it is possible to scratch that wanderlust itch from the safety of your home with a spectrum of virtual museums and art galleries.
In an effort to keep society stimulated and entertained, Google has partnered their Arts and Culture division with 2,500 of the worlds most highly-regarded museums and art galleries to compile digital sightseeing packages. They provide immersive and interactive free tours from every corner of the world. The catalogue can fly you from Amsterdam to New York in an afternoon, no jet lag or luggage required. Grab your passports, here are a few virtual museums we’ll be visiting below.
J. Paul Getty Museum: Los Angeles, California.
Featuring works of art from the eighth through to the twenty-first century, The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Centre in Los Angeles, California is home to a vast visual collection.
The centre is a sight to see on its own with breathtaking architecture and plush gardens. Showcased in this collection are three virtual stories, over 1,500 images, and a collection of over 15,000 images to browse. It includes European paintings, sculptures, and manuscripts with a treasure-trove of Asian, American, and European photography.
Vatican Museum: Rome, Italy.
If the virtual tour and photo collection hosted through Google Arts and Culture is not enough, The Vatican website has provided a number of images and tours you can delve into.
Available on the website is a collection of every museum available for discovery within the Vatican castle. Short video previews give quick, but beautiful recaps of architectural and artifact spotlights.
With seven striking 360 degree virtual sightseeing tours, the Vatican Museum will transport you to Rome, Italy. The classic winding architecture transcends time giving you a necessary break from reality.
Rijksmuseum: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Following their 10-year renovation project, the museum is renowned for its architecture and contains 80 galleries and 8,000 objects that recounts Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to Mondrian.
Complete with infamous works of art from the Dutch Golden Age, the Rijksmuseum presents 11 story collections with over 150,000 images.
National Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art: Seoul, South Korea
Dedicated to the enrichment of lives through the teaching of art and preservation of art history, the MMCA hosts some of the Korea’s most famous modern art.
The virtual tours allow entry into each of the MMCA’s four branches (Seoul, Gwacheon, Deoksugung, Cheongju) giving full range of its catalogue. As one of the few museums that does not specialize in any one medium, you can virtually tour everything from print to design to sculptures and new media.
National Women's History Museum: Alexandria, USA
The only institution of it’s kind, the National Women’s History Museum has created a large database of virtual tours. The museum researches, collects, and exhibits women’s social, cultural, economic, and political history within the world. The 16 virtual stories will have you experiencing the journeys of iconic women from every decade. Whether they were game changers in business, sports, social, or civil rights, an in-depth history of their impact on society is told.
NASA Glenn Research Center: Cleveland, USA
Although not hosted through Google, the NASA Glenn Research Center‘s virtual tours are a must see for any and all space geeks. The immersive experiences are out of this world, literally. If you ever wondered what NASA really gets up to on a day to day, the virtual tours will take you through a number of exhibitions that recount their findings to date and what they hope to discover in the future. Take a tour of the NASA Glenn Research Center and walk in the footsteps of a space scientist for a day (or hour), where they work on developing the future technology of NASA’s missions in aeronautics and space exploration.
Guggenheim Museum: New York City, USA
Without needing any real introduction, The Guggenheim Museum stands as one of the most iconic works of architecture in the world thanks to Frank Lloyd Wright’s visionary design. If you can get past the awe of its exterior using Google Street View, you can take a look inside at the displays of priceless contemporary art, which features everything from canvas art to sculptures. Google Arts and Culture hosts five virtual stories from this museum with over 200 images.
British Museum: London, England
Famously known for its Great Court with soaring lined ceilings the British Museum in London is a favourite amongst tourists and historians, alike. Its artifacts make up two million years of human history and is home to iconic exhibits like the Rosetta Stone. For a full virtual experience into the building complete with 45 visual stories and over 7,000 photo items, dive into their Google Arts and Culture page.
National Gallery of Art: Washington D.C, USA
More commonly known as the “Building Seen in Every White House Drama Ever,” this Museum has become a symbol of America. It dedicates itself to the preservation, collecting, and exhibiting of art as a means to foster an understanding of art in the 21st century. Although its virtual collection only holds two stories, the collection of over 40,000 images is bound to keep you immersed and occupied.
This exhibit is for lovers of fashion and those with a specific love of Dutch Baroque paintings. The first focuses on the history of American fashion, and the second features works from Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer.
Musée d'Orsay: Paris, France
For the classical art lover, the Musee d’Orsay in France is a painter’s dream with every wall adorned with works of art from artists like Monet and Gauguin. Originally a train station, the repurposed building has high round gold sealing and features collections of art from 1848 to 1914. A full virtual tour of the interior can be accessed here.