11 of the Best Virtual Museums and Art Gallery Tours
Take a trip through some of the world's best collections online...
As we have been on lock down for sometime and may be spending the next few weeks continuing to social distance and self-isolating at home, we have all had to put our travel plans on hold. But, I expect many people have been turning to the TV, or reading and going on line to find new ways of entertaining themselves and finding a way to stay occupied to help time pass. But this doesn't mean we can't get our culture fix!
Many of the world's leading museums and art galleries offer virtual tours that provide a detailed viewing of the creative treasures inside, from the brilliance of the old masters at the National Gallery and the Louvre, to a celebration of British art at the Tate.
Get ready for some high-brow gallery-hopping as we take you on a journey from London to Paris, Amsterdam, America and back again – all from the comfort of your own sofa. And you don't even have to worry about what to pack...
1 Le Muse?e du Louvre, Paris
Begin your online travels in the City of Light. Even if Paris has lost its status as the most visited city in the world in recent years, its museums remain immensely popular. The Louvre Museum is the world’s largest art and antiques museum, holding world-famous pieces such as the Mona Lisa or the Victory of Samothrace, and is actually the most popular museum in Europe on Instagram, exceeding four million posts.
2 British Museum, London
London is a cultural hub just waiting to be explored, and what better way to dive into history than by using the resources on offer at the British Museum? Older than the United States itself, this museum contains one of the most important collections in the world, illustrating the evolution of man from his beginnings to present day. Scroll through the ages as you explore art, history, religion, conflict and more.
3 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
This incredible building is the biggest museum of art in the United States. Sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy tours of the Great Hall, the Temple of Dendur, and the Arms and Armour galleries.
4 Natural History Museum, London
Looking for a tour that the kids will enjoy too? This is it. Introduce them to the giant Dippy the dino in the entrance hall, as well as specimens in jars, butterflies, the dodo and more as you browse the corridors from your sofa.
5 Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Hop on a ferry and head off to the Netherlands, more particularly to Amsterdam where the Rijksmuseum is located. If you are finding the name difficult to pronounce, it simply means 'Amsterdam State Museum'. It is the most important museum in the country, both in terms of the number of visitors and the number of works on display. It is dedicated to the fine arts, crafts and history of the country.
6 Muse?e d'Orsay, Paris
The French capital also boasts the Muse?e d'Orsay, a museum which holds the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works in the world. The online collection allows you to feast your eyes upon a variety of works from oil paintings and canvas works, to themes surrounding impressionism and French history.
7 J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
One of the most important art museums on the west coast of the US, you can see over 6,000 years worth of creative treasures here, including the old master, like Van Gogh’s Irises and Renoir’s La Promenade. The museum also features Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art, as well as international photography from the 20th and 21st centuries. The Google Arts and Culture tool offers a look at the art inside the gallery spaces and you might need to strap in as this could be a long and interesting ride.
8 Musei Vaticani, Vatican City
No art lovers’ trip around Europe is complete without a visit to 'Musei Vaticani'. The Vatican Museums, located in The Vatican City, a city-state in the heart of the Italian capital of Rome, hosts a grand collection of public art and sculpture which was gathered by the Roman Catholic Church over the centuries.
9 Tate Britain, London
Tate Britain's online portal offers virtual tours around its rooms showing a chronological display of Britain’s greatest artists of all time. Easily click your way through the collection in order of decade, allowing you to see a clear overview of British art from 1545 to the present day.
10 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Back to Amsterdam, this art museum is named after one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art – Vincent van Gogh. Dedicated to the works of the Dutch post-impressionist painter, this museum has an amazing online section allowing you to explore the life and works of Van Gogh and access a wide variety of child-friendly resources to keep the younger ones entertained and educated.
11 National Gallery, London
Nestled behind the famous lion statues in London's Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is home to over 3,000 paintings, drawings, watercolours and art from 13th to mid-20th century Europe. You can enjoy endless browsing around its seven exhibition spaces featuring portraits and dramatic landscapes from the old masters.