Social distancing and quarantine may be the new norm, but that is no reason to miss touring your favorite museums.
Add virtual museum tours to supplement art curriculum for kids. Kids can research technics or the inspiration of artists. Additionally, adults and kids alike can challenge each to other to recreate their favorite piece of art.
Furthermore, grab a glass a wine and schedule date night to view virtual tours of the top museums around the world.
Virtual Museum Tours Around of the World
Tip: When virtually touring a museum through Google, select the floor number on the right side of the screen to travel to a new floor. Use this tool with a map of the museum to locate your favorite works of art.
1. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Explore 8,000 pieces in 80 galleries covering 800 years of Dutch art and history at the Rijks. The museum is the largest art museum in the Netherlands. Originally located in The Hague, the Rijksmuseum moved to Amerstadam in 1808.
The museum showcases pieces by Dutch artists including Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, and Rembrandt.
The milkmaid by Vermeer is a must see. The painting, made around 1660, is one of four Vermeers at the Rijks. Vermeer, while not a wealthy man, used expensive pigments to create his paintings depicting middle class life.
The Night Watch, The Jewish Bride, Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt are also on display. Rembrandt was a Dutch painter and sketch artist. He even completed self-portraits with his wife (The Prodigal Son in the Tavern). The artist used light to highlight important elements and add dramatic effect. (Don’t miss Van Gogh’s self-portait either!)
Google organized tours by ground floor, 1st floor, 2nd floor, and 3rd floor.
2. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
J. Paul Getty, a businessman and avid art collector, founded the J. Paul Getty Trust in 1953. The trust is one of the wealthiest art institutions and manages the two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum.
The main location of the J. Paul Getty Museum is the Getty Center. Opened in 1997, the Getty sits atop the hillside in the Brentwood neighborhood.
The Getty features pre-20th-century European paintings. Prized artwork includes Irises by Vincent van Gogh and Renoir’s La Promenade. The extensive photography collection includes works from all over the world, including photographs of artist Georgia O’Keeffe taken by her husband Alfred Stieglitz.
Visit the Getty from your couch with a virtual tour. You can ‘stand” in front of Irises that is sandwiched between the works of Edgar Degas and Claude Monet. Spin around the room to see Renoir’s La Promenade and Arii Matamoe by Paul Gaugin.
3. Louvre, Paris
Oh, Paris. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre Museum. Historic and iconic landmarks all in one city.
Since travel to Paris isn’t feasible, bring the Louvre into your home.
Long before it was a museum, the grand palace that is the Louvre was a fortress and then a royal residence. Built in the late 12th century, the fortress with a moat along the Seine River was designed to protect the city of Paris.
Although Paris had long been the capital of France, the city did not become the home for kings until the 16th century. Over a span of nearly 30 years, the fortress was remodeled and converted to meet royal standards.
Numerous French leaders expanded and remodeled the Louvre. After the French Revolution, the Louvre opened as a museum to showcase around 600 paintings. Two hundred years later, the Louvre we now know became a public institution.
The Louvre currently offers 4 virtual tours: an exhibition of “The Advent of the Artist” in the Petite Galerie, the collection of Egyptian Antiquities in the Sully Wing, the remains of the Louvre moat, and the ceiling of the Apollo Gallery.
NOTE: The famed Mona Lisa, a permanent fixture at the Louvre since 1791, is located in the Salle des Etats Room on the Denon wing is NOT available in the official Louvre virtual tour.
To view more of the Louvre, locate the Louvre in Google Maps. Browse street view images to see the experience captured by other museum visitors. The exterior street view at night of the glass pyramid is breathtaking.
4. British Museum, London
Opened in 1759, The British Museum was the first national public museum in the world. Spanning over 3 floors, The Museum contains over 60 galleries.
The Museum’s collection contains pieces from regions previously under British colonial rule as well as purchased and donated excavated pieces.
The original museum was located in Montagu House. As collections and galleries grew, a larger building was needed. In 1823, the Montagu House was demolished to construct the current bigger Greek Revival style building designed by Sir Robert Smirke.
The Museum hosts virtual galleries of the Oceania and Prints and Drawings (including art by Edgar Degas and Michelangelo). The works of Oceania are spread throughout the museum. For this reason, viewing the virtual gallery is the best way to view the entire collection of pieces from Australia, New Guinea, and the South Pacific.
Go on a virtual stroll inside and outside of The Museum via Google’s streetview art collection. Download a map to navigate to the Rosetta Stone and Lewis Chessman.
5. Guggenheim, New York
Unlike other museums on this list, the Guggenheim showcases art from Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary eras.
Located on 5th Ave across from Central Park, the Guggenheim was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and opened in 1959. The foundation of the museum was the eccentric art collection of Solomon Guggenheim. Early viewings of his collection took place in Guggenheim’s apartment at the Plaza Hotel. Both Guggenheim and Wright passed away before the museum was opened.
The Guggenheim proudly supports virtual tours through Google of its museum. View the Thannhauser Collection, which includes works by Cézanne, Monet, Degas, and Picasso. Details of each piece are included as well as a history of the artist. The Panza Collection is known as one of the greatest “single concentrations of American art of the 1960s and 1970s”.
Close your eyes and listen to Guggenheim Staff and 99% Invisible’s Roman Mars to guide you through the architecture and design of the building.
Watch the Guggenheim YouTube channel to learn more about its architecture, exhibitions, and history. Brief artist profiles are also posted.
Visit Google Arts & Culture Collection to virtually tour even more museums and art collections!