The Top 10 Must See Museums With Virtual Tours - All You Need To Know

Taarika Rajani
Taarika Rajani
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The Top 10 Must See Museums With Virtual Tours - All You Need To Know

Updated on: 
April 4, 2021
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Want to explore the world but are stuck quarantining at home? Sick of staring at the boring walls in your ‘home office?’  From the Mona Lisa to the Pergamon Altar, why not skip the lines and visit these amazing museums with a virtual tour?!

While we may not be able to catch a flight to another country or plan a whole trip or vacation, these museums with virtual tours make it ridiculously easy to appreciate artwork and learn something new from artefacts located at the opposite ends of the earth. What’s more, a museum with a virtual tour is the best way to avoid pesky travelling related hassles like large crowds, busy traffic and long lines. You no longer have to peer over a tall bald man’s head to catch a glimpse of a tiny canvas - simply embark on a virtual tour, explore at your own pace and get inspired!

Read on for the best places to access the top museum virtual tours, the top reasons to make a virtual visit  and the one thing you just can’t afford to miss at each destination!

1. The Louvre - Paris, France

The Louvre remains the most visited museum in the world and welcomed a record-breaking 10.2 million visitors in 2018.

Although best known for being home to the Mona Lisa, the Louvre has a lot more to offer and boasts one of the most extensive collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world.  From exhibitions on art and political power to the remains of the Louvre’s moat, explore this famous museum by launching one of its nine main official virtual tours.

The Louvre Museum pyramids
Photographer: Alex Holyoake | Source: Unsplash

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

From Greek and Roman sculptures to crown jewels, you will surely find an area of the museum that speaks to you.

What you don’t want to miss -

The Mona Lisa, of course! Apart from the mysterious lady, you can also look out for the Venus de Milo, The Winged Victory of Samothrace and The Coronation of Napoleon.

2. The American Museum of Natural History -Washington D.C, USA

Part of the Smithsonian Institution, this museum has a rich cultural history. The Natural History museum has a variety of permanent exhibits including halls dedicated to dinosaur fossils, amphibians and gemstones. If you are a lover of the natural world then this is definitely one virtual tour that you don’t want to miss!  

This museum currently offers a range of virtual experiences including guided hall tours, online exhibits and interactive virtual field trips.

Photographer: Sheng Li | Source: Unsplash

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

The museum has numerous live events every month. Like in-person events, you can ask expert Palaeontologists and Epidemiologists about topics ranging from fossil excavation to the current pandemic.

What you don’t want to miss -

Seeing a complete T-Rex skeleton with augmented reality and the exhibits that were featured in the ‘Night at The Museum’ movie through the museum’s own Explorer app.

3. British Museum, London - UK

The British Museum is home to the Rosetta Stone and also has an array of galleries to explore. Some of the the best ways to visit its exhibitions and the Great Court yourself is to head to the museum’s virtual tour in Google Street View or to view its art virtually through Google Arts and Culture.

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Photographer: Viktor Forgacs | Source: Unsplash

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

You get the chance to browse through the museum’s fascinating, 8 million historic objects and artefacts from around the world.

What you don’t want to miss  -

The museum’s accompanying audio tours that give you little snippets of context to enhance your virtual tour. You can listen to these on Google Play and Apple Music.

4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York, USA

The Met is the largest art museum in the United States and definitely one of the most iconic historical venues. The museum houses classical antiquities including some of the world’s most famous European sculptures. It also has permanent collections of African, Byzantine, Islamic, Asian and Oceanian art. The museum currently offers online exhibitions, an audio tour and virtual events.

Art gallery with glass ceilings
Photographer: Robert Bye | Source: Unsplash

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

From Renaissance pieces to Post-Impressionist works - this museum truly has it all!

What you don’t want to miss -

There are simply too many famous and notable pieces in The Met to whittle down and just recommend one or two. However, I would strongly suggest you explore this 360 degree video project which gives you a bird’s eye view of the Great Hall, Arms Gallery and the Temple of Dendur.

5.  The National Museum of Anthropology - Mexico City, Mexico

This museum is home to the largest collection of Mexican art and archeology exhibits from the pre-Hispanic period. There are multiple ethnographic exhibits, including several that educate you on present-day indigenous groups  in Mexico. The best way to explore this museum would be through its collaboration with Google Arts and Culture.

Photographer: Robert Bye | Source: Unsplash

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

It is the best way to learn about Mexico’s rich culture and the many Pre-Columbian civilizations’ way of life in Mesoamerica.

What you don’t want to miss -

The famous Aztec Calendar Sun Stone which was recovered in 1760 during the construction of the Metropolitan Cathedral.

6. The J. Paul Getty Museum  - Los Angeles, USA

Situated among the Santa Monica Mountains, The J. Paul Getty Museum consists of two separate locations; The Getty Centre and The Getty Villa. Established by oil billionaire Jean Paul Getty, the centre and villa boast an array of antiquities and are home to Getty’s prized collection of Roman, Greek and Etruscan art.

While the museum is currently closed, you can still explore a variety of its art collections virtually on its official website. You can also use Google Arts and Culture to discover and read more about particular paintings. Another option is to see the exterior and interior of the museum’s Sculpture Plaza and Garden Terrace in a fully immersive virtual tour through Xplorit.

Grand entrance to Getty Center, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Photographer: Lydia Koh | Source: Unsplash

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

The museum’s impressive architecture designed to highlight both nature and culture is sure to wow you even through Xplorit’s virtual tour.

What you don’t want to miss -

Vincent van Gogh’s Irises. A stunning still life that the artist created in the year before his death.

7. Rijksmuseum - Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Rijksmuseum houses the national art collection of The Netherlands, as well as major collections of Western European art and sculptures and Asian art. The museum is famous for capturing historical moments from the Dutch Golden age. It also displays works of Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Vermeer and Rembrandt in its Gallery of Honour.

You can explore the museum through its newly launched #Rijksmuseumfromhome YouTube series, or see many of the museum’s most iconic pieces up close through an engaging virtual tour.  The museum also offers multimedia tours and allows you to search for pieces by artist or keyword through its app.

The photo I captured at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Painting is called The Night Watch.
Photographer: Václav Pluhař | Source: Unsplash

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

To learn about the Dutch Golden Age from the most famous paintings, sculptures, ceramics and ornaments.

What you don’t want to miss -

Rembrandt’s most notable work; The Night Watch. Once you have seen the piece up close through the museum’s virtual tour, you can dive deeper into its history with another one of the museum’s interactive virtual experiences dedicated solely to this piece.

8. The Uffizi Gallery Virtual Tour- Florence, Italy

Located in the heart of Florence, The Uffizi Gallery has the world’s best collection of Italian Renaissance paintings. While the museum was originally designed by Giorgio Vasari for Cosimo I de’Medici, the Duke of Tuscany, as a palace for government offices, today the remodelled museum displays thousands of works in roughly chronological order. Luckily for us, this is another museum with a virtual tour.

True story: you would probably get lost in its labyrinth-like layout in real life! But you can avoid all of that by easily navigating the museum by hall, artwork and artist while embarking on its virtual tour.

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

The museum houses timeless treasures from Italy’s history and will give you insight into Medici’s rule as you explore the Duke’s old offices. Plus, newer halls and galleries feature other French, Spanish and Flemish works.

What you don’t want to miss -

Make sure to see some of Sandro Botticelli’s incredible work in the Botticelli Room. This room has two of his most acclaimed pieces - The Birth of Venus and The Primavera.

9. The Pergamon Museum Virtual Tour  - Berlin, Germany

The Pergamon Museum is home to several remarkable artefacts including the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.  This museum has lots to explore as it is actually separated into three different museums;  The Collection of Classical Antiquities (Antikensammlung), the Museum of the Ancient Near East (Vorderasiatisches Museum), and the Museum of Islamic Art (Museum für Islamische Kunst). The museum is also located on Berlin’s Museum island which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

Why not take a virtual walk through the museum with Google Maps? You will definitely enjoy browsing its many sculptures and restorations with Google Arts and Culture.

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

The Pergamon Museum contains some of the most breathtaking exhibits of Islamic art and Ancient Near Eastern Art. The specific pieces and styles of Babylonian art the museum houses are rare to find in other North American museums.

What you don’t want to miss -

Be sure to see the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and Pergamon Altar. You can take a closer look at the Ishtar Gate through this video, and at the Altar, here.

10. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art - Seoul, Korea

This Korean Museum is one of the latest museums to offer a virtual tour. The museum has four branches; Gwacheon, Deoksugung, Seoul and Cheongju, which are devoted to different artistic domains. Gwacheon focuses on visual arts such as design and architecture while Deoksung showcases modern Korean and international art. Seoul houses global contemporary art and Cheongju promotes the important goal of art conservation. This museum has a lot to offer and now you can experience it all from the comfort of your couch! Take the virtual tour here.

Top Reason to Make a Virtual Visit -

The museum is Korea’s only national museum to actively install modern and contemporary Korean art as well as international art from multiple time periods.

What you don’t want to miss -

The online exhibition documenting the birth of the museum itself. You can also access this virtual tour through Google Arts and Culture and learn about the construction of the museum through videos and archives from Korea’s most renowned photographers - Suntag Noh and Seung Woo Back.

Interesting Times + We Want To Hear From You!

These museums with virtual tours allow us to take a deep dive into learning about how other civilizations showed resilience and dealt with a dynamic and uncertain past. Given that the world is dealing with the crisis of a global health pandemic, we are certainly living through equally unique times in history. When not visiting museums with virtual tours; how have you been finding inspiration in daily life? How have you been quenching your thirst for exploration? Let us know by dropping a comment :)

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