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You Can Take Virtual Tours of the World's Coolest Museums Right Now



Mona Lisa standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Thanks to 21st century technology, social distancing can't stop you from exploring some of the world's most famous galleries with virtual museum tours.

In these anxiety-inducing times, some of us reach for the nearest book, seek an online concert, or just want a brain-teasing puzzle. But for others, there’s nothing a little art can’t fix. And thanks to 21st century technology, social distancing can’t stop you from exploring some of the world’s most famous galleries and museums.

From Paris’s Louvre, to The Vatican, and the MET, there are a variety of museums offering interactive virtual tours. That means you can travel from continent to continent from the comfort of your home, while perusing the finest art and artifacts in your pajamas. Not to mention, they’re also a great activity to entertain your kids.

Below we detail the virtual museum tours that’ll take you away on an instant adventure.

The Louvre

.🇫🇷 Mercredi, c’est #HistoireDuLouvre ! Aujourd’hui, intéressons-nous à la majestueuse Cour Puget ⤵️ – 💁🏻♂️ Due à l'architecte Lefuel, cette cour a été construite lors de l’achèvement du Louvre sous le Second Empire (1852-1870). La cour faisait alors partie de l'aile du palais de Napoléon III. Elle a été baptisée en l’honneur du sculpteur Pierre Puget. – 💶 En 1871, le ministère des Finances, qui a perdu ses locaux de la rue du Mont-Thabor (Paris Ier) lors des incendies de la Commune, s’installe dans la cour Puget. Elle est alors couverte par une verrière soutenue par des colonnes en fer et dévolue aux guichets de la Caisse centrale du Trésor public. Glissez vers la gauche pour découvrir une image d’archive ! 👉 – ✨ En 1993, la cour est couverte d’une nouvelle verrière conçue par l’ingénieur Peter Rice pour accueillir les sculptures françaises de plein air du XVIIe au XIXe siècle. – – -🌎 Wednesday it’s #LouvreHistory! Today, let's take a look at the majestic Cour Puget ⤵️ – 💁🏻♂️ Designed by the architect Lefuel, this courtyard was built during the completion of the Louvre during the Second Empire (1852-1870). The court formed part of the wing of Napoleon III's palace at this time. It was named after the sculptor Pierre Puget. – 💶 In 1871, the Ministry of Finance, which had lost its premises in the rue du Mont-Thabor (Paris I) during the fires of the Commune, moved into the Cour Puget. It was then covered by a glass roof supported by iron columns and devoted to the counters of the Treasury Department. Swipe left to discover an archive image! 👉 – ✨ In 1993, the courtyard was covered by a new glass roof designed by the engineer Peter Rice to accommodate French outdoor sculptures from the 17th to 19th centuries. – 📸 ©️ RMN – Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Franck Bohbot / Histoire du Louvre . . .#Louvre #MuséeDuLouvre #LouvreChezVous #MuseumFromHome

A post shared by Musée du Louvre (@museelouvre) on Apr 1, 2020 at 3:06am PDT

The Paris historical monument is the world’s biggest museum (and home to the Mona Lisa) and is currently offering tours of four exhibits: The Advent of the Artist, Egyptian Antiquities, Remains of the Louvre’s Moat, and Galerie d’Apollon.

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The Guggenheim

Today's #FrankLloydWrightFridays image is by @qreativephotos—"I see beauty not in the obvious physical appearance but in its character." #Guggenheim

A post shared by Guggenheim Museum (@guggenheim) on Mar 6, 2020 at 8:46am PST

The museum will hold its interactive family tours on select Sundays despite the fact that this New York institute is currently closed. You can also peruse selections from their 8,000-piece artwork collection.

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The National Gallery

We will be temporarily closed from 19 March to 4 May 2020 as a precautionary measure to help contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The safety and wellbeing of our visitors, colleagues and community is paramount, therefore we have decided to temporarily close the Gallery from 19 March until 4 May 2020, in line with the latest advice from Public Health England. While the Gallery is closed in Trafalgar Square, our collection remains open for everyone to explore on the website and we will continue to share our paintings and their stories through social media and email for you to enjoy regardless of where you are.

A post shared by National Gallery (@nationalgallery) on Mar 17, 2020 at 11:05am PDT

London’s National Gallery has a Google virtual tour of its Renaissance collection, the Sainsbury Wing which contains more than 270 paintings, and look at 18 other fascinating rooms.

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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Washington, D.C’s National Museum of Natural History provides a room-by-room virtual tour of the entire building, including the main rotunda where you’re greeted by a beautiful elephant, the butterfly pavilion, and “Sea Monsters Unearthed.”

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Hirshhorn Museum

Enjoy relaxing nature views, with a side of art, thanks to virtual tours of the grounds’ two sculpture gardens and a close look at the building’s exterior.

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National Portrait Gallery

Although the Gallery is closed we still want to stay connected. There are a number of ways you can enjoy the Gallery whilst at home – from our social media channels, online Collection to most recent blog posts. We’d also like to hear what you would most like to see? Is there an artist or sitter you’d like to learn more about? Or perhaps a favourite work in the Collection you’d like to explore in more detail? Drop us a comment, and tell us all about it…⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #MuseumFromHome #NationalPortraitGallery #Portraiture

A post shared by National Portrait Gallery (@nationalportraitgallery) on Mar 19, 2020 at 7:14am PDT

In addition to its main hall, London’s National Portrait Gallery includes virtual tours of art from six galleries, including the English kings of the 15th century Tudor period and pieces created during Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 to 1901.

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National Museum of Asian Art

We’re wishing all of our friends marking #Nowruz, the Persian New Year today, renewal, joy, and prosperity in the coming months. ✨ . To celebrate, families set the #HaftSin, a specially prepared holiday table, to make wishes for the coming year. Items on the table refer to new life and rebirth, based around the number seven. The custom has evolved over the centuries and has regional variations, but at least seven basic items, each beginning with the letter s (“sin” in Persian, pronounced “seen”), are traditionally placed on the haft sin table. Many of them also refer to the seven Zoroastrian immortals that guarded the sky, waters, earth, fire, plants, animals, and humans in ancient Iran. . 🔍How many of the 7 symbolic items can you spot in these two photos? 👀 (Consider the 7th a freebie, because it’s not easily visible in the pictures! 😁) . 1) “Seeb” (apples) for fertility and beauty. 🍏🍎 2) “Sonbol” (hyacinth) for fragrance. 💐 3) “Serkeh” (wine vinegar) for immortality and eternity. 🍷4) “Senjid” (wild olives) for fertility and love. 💕 5) “Sabza” (wheat, barley, or lentil sprouts growing in a dish) for rebirth. 🌾 6) “Samanu” (wheat sprout pudding) for sweetness and fertility. 🍬 7) “Sekkeh” (coins) for wealth. 👛 . What else might you find on the table to symbolize good luck? 🧐 There could be a mirror to reflect the light of wisdom and creation. 🕯 Candles to symbolize holy fire, and an orange floating in a bowl of water to represent the earth floating in space. 🌌🍊To ward off evil spirits, add a brazier to burn wild rue, a sacred herb. 🌹 Rosewater will purify and sweeten the new year. 🥚 Decorated eggs will also bring fertility. 📖 A book of poetry by the 14th-century writer Hafiz or a copy of the Qur’an, to signify prayers or knowledge is often found on a haft sin table, too. 📚 . #NowruzMubarak to all of our friends celebrating this day. . 📸: @c_dug

A post shared by National Museum of Asian Art (@freersackler) on Mar 20, 2020 at 5:52pm PDT

In addition to 13 online exhibits and 36,750 items in their collection available to view online, there are indoor and outdoor virtual tours of the Freer and Sackler Galleries, which make up the National Museum of Asian Art.

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National Air and Space Museum

The most-visited museum in the country currently has 49 online exhibits, 1,971 items to view in its online collection, and virtual tours of the first and second floors, and its companion facility, the Udvar-Hazy Center’s first and second floor at the Washington Dulles International Airport.

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Metropolitan Museum of Art

A sketch fit for the gods 🏛️ ✨ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ This week's #MetSketch by @bellabells.f transports us back into our galleries in the best possible way. We can almost hear the steady trickling of the marble fountain in our Roman Sculpture Court. 😌 Have a #MetSketch of your own? Tag us! ✍️⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ Image description: A colorful sketch in pencil crayon of The Met's Roman Sculpture Court. #TheMet #MetAnywhere

A post shared by The Metropolitan Museum of Art (@metmuseum) on Mar 15, 2020 at 12:41pm PDT

Located in NYC, and the biggest museum in the United States, The Metropolitan Museum of Art provides six quick videos that give 360° views of key parts of the grounds, including the great hall.

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Musée d’Orsay

Displaying art from 1848 to 1914, the Parisian museum offers a free virtual walking tour and a 278-piece online collection.

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The Vatican Museum

Comprised of art collected by the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church over centuries, you can treat yourself to seven free online 360° tours, which include the famed Sistine Chapel and the Pio Clementino Museum.

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Van Gogh Museum

More than 35 self-portraits that all look different! Different in terms of painting style and use of colour, but also different in terms of how Vincent van Gogh portrayed himself: in an artist’s smock, wearing a suit, with a pipe, palette or painter’s easel. They show different types of person: a bohemian, a painter, or a chic gentleman. 🤔 Due to a lack of money and models, Vincent often had to make do with his own reflection. But this meant he could create a number of versions of himself! Which version of Van Gogh do you like best? 🌻 Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait (1887) #whoisvangogh #museumathome #vincentvangogh #vangoghmuseum #amsterdam #vangogh #art

A post shared by Van Gogh Museum (@vangoghmuseum) on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:25am PDT

Virtually travel to Amsterdam and view the celebrated Dutch painter’s largest collection of works with the help of Google Arts and Culture.

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Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam’s arts and history museum allows access to 14 multimedia tours if you download their app, available in the Apple Store and Google Play.

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The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Los Angeles art museum has two online exhibits—Heaven, Hell, and Dying Well and Eat, Drink, and Be Merry—in addition to more than 15,000 pieces in an online collection and a virtual look at the grounds.

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Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Iconic photographer Tony Vaccaro is responsible for some of the most breathtaking and rare color images of Georgia O'Keeffe, including this showstopper! About this photo he said, " What a lady she was, wonderful full of grace. She was just showing me her painting and she wanted to pose but while she was holding the art CLICK I got the photo." -Tony Vaccaro Mr. Vaccaro's images and his first hand descriptions of what it was like to befriend the artist are instrumental to how we understand and appreciate Georgia O'Keeffe today. His work has contributed greatly to research and scholarship, as well as helping introduce O'Keeffe to a new generation. He is a living legend and a wonderful person! We at the O'Keeffe Museum are so deeply appreciative of the work he has done and continues to do in uplifting the legacy of one of the most iconic artists of all time. Do you have a question for Mr. Vaccaro about his experience? Leave us comment and we will gather them together to share with him! 💙 Image: Tony Vaccaro. Georgia O'Keeffe, New Mexico. 1960. Color Photograph. © Tony Vaccaro. #okeeffee #1960 #tonyvaccaro #tonyvaccarostudio #photography #colorphotography #iconicphotography #GeorgiaOKeeffe #okeeffe #portraitoftheartist #famousportraits #classicphotography #livinglegend #AskanArtist #artidtquotes #documentaryphotography #greatartists #artistfriends #okeeffeinspired #NewMexicoPhoto See more of Mr. Vaccaro's work on his beautiful Instagram feed, @tonyvaccarophotographer, and his website http://tonyvaccaro.studio/

A post shared by Georgia O'Keeffe Museum (@okeeffemuseum) on Mar 19, 2020 at 2:00pm PDT

Dedicated to the life and legacy of the renowned “Mother of American modernism,” the New Mexico facility offers six online exhibits.

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Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Spain’s premiere art gallery offers “immersive virtual tours” for those with access to smart phones and virtual reality glasses, in addition to tours of their extensive permanent collection and 10 temporary exhibitions of past and present.

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NASA

NASA offers a variety of interactive virtual tours through both their site and app, from a look at their flying observatory to the Hubble Space Telescope.

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High Museum of Art

“She’s just a projection of her creator, in a way. I’m interested in exploring that, but also kind of imbuing it with some agency by making her the protagonist in the work – the person who acts.”⠀ In her recent work, Latvian artist Ella Kruglyanskaya has taken on the challenge of portraying the bodily and sexual independence of womanhood without contributing to stereotypes and exploitative misrepresentations of women. “Painter, Discontented” (2018) by Kruglyanskaya is now on view in the new exhibition Pioneers, Influencers, and Rising Voices: Women in the Collection. #womenshistorymonth #5womenartists

A post shared by High Museum of Art (@highmuseumofart) on Mar 10, 2020 at 6:00am PDT

View the Atlanta museum’s four online exhibitions, including the enlightening Photos from the Civil Rights Movement and How Iris van Herpen Transformed Fashion.

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Museum of Fine Arts

The Boston gallery has 17 virtual collections, with an extensive look at 20th and 21st century designer fashion, photography, and works by African American artists.

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WATCH: This app will turn your phone into an interactive museum you can play with for hours (provided by Travel + Leisure)



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