Stuck at home and feeling uninspired? Mentally depleted? Wishing you could travel the world again (or even your own city) and feel excited about discovering something new and interesting? Then now is the perfect time to take a virtual museum tour. Many are free, you never have to wait in line, and no one will obstruct your view from the comfort of your couch! Check out these three amazing museums offering virtual tours that are designed to ignite your passion for art, history, and culture, and wake up your imagination and sense of wonder.
The Louvre—Paris, France
Even if you had the extra cash to buy a ticket to Paris or some spare frequent flyer miles to redeem, you’d find yourself standing outside the Louvre’s entrance. It’s closed for now due to safety concerns and COVID. But, you’re in luck—you can still take a tour of one of the most famous museums in the world. Just click on louvre.fr and begin a virtual tour from the museum’s website. There are multiple tours to choose from: Are you fascinated by Egyptian antiquities? There’s a tour for that. Or visit the hugely popular “Mona Lisa Beyond the Glass” virtual reality experience. Afterward, head over to the “Founding Myths: From Hercules to Darth Vader” exhibition.
In addition to the virtual tours offered by the Louvre, be sure to check out their other online activities such as YouTubers at the Louvre.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History—Washington, D.C.
Although all Smithsonian museums are closed to the public due to COVID, you can take a virtual tour of the National Museum of Natural History online at naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour. Explore online events, exhibitions, and even podcasts. As you “walk” through the museum floors, you’ll see fossils, dinosaurs, mammal exhibits, marine life in the Ocean Hall, get a close-up view of the Insect Zoo, and be wowed by geology gems and minerals. The interactive virtual tour allows you to jump ahead to sections or exhibits you want to see first and then circle back to the others.
The British Museum—London, England
The British Museum is open for virtual tours of more than 60 galleries. Check it out on Google Maps>Street View and start wandering. Can you locate the famous Rosetta Stone? Look for your favorite artist in the Prints and Drawings virtual gallery. Whether an “Old Master” or a contemporary artist, you’ll find yourself drawn into these galleries, mesmerized by the stunning works.
The kids (and perhaps yourself) will enjoy using the free learning resources on the website at britishmuseum.org. Discover how Egyptian mummies were made. Or check out Roman tombstones. There’s so much to take in; you may lose a few hours of unintended education. Never a bad thing!
And don’t forget to check out The British Museum’s YouTube channel. The Curator’s Corner series is always adding something intriguing to its list of videos. Like these: Why Japanese Tigers Have Flat Heads: Painted Screen by Maruyama Okyo; A VERY Fancy Parka; or Making a 3,000 Year Old Bed.