The physical doors of museums around the world may be closed to us but the virtual doors have opened to us instead, not only making the museums much easily accessible to us but also bringing the exhibits much closer to us than ever.
While a virtual experience may not be the same as being able to experience the splendor of these museums "live", it is much better than the alternative of not being able to access them at all. It’s also a great way to prepare yourself for a future trip! So, here are 10 noteworthy museums you can explore from home for free!
1. Benaki Museum | Athens
Source: Benaki Museum
Take a virtual step into the Benaki Museum in Athens and wander through years of Greek history. Their impressive collection, which goes as far back as 3000 BC (and maybe more), includes Prehistoric, Ancient Greek and Roman Art, Byzantine Art, Historic Heirlooms, and a collection of noteworthy books, among others.
2. Louvre Museum | Paris
Source: APK Pure
Explore: Louvre Museum
As the world’s largest and one of the most well-known art museums, The Louvre needs no introduction. Avoid the queues and take your time to explore the vast collection of objects housed within this historic building through the virtual tours of the galleries. You can wander across the Petite Galerie, Medieval Louvre as well as the collections of the department of Egyptian Antiquities. You can even stare at the ceiling of the Apollo Gallery, a splendorous ensemble of masterpieces by French artists like Charles Le Brun and Eugène Delacroix!
3. Musée d’Orsay | Paris
Source: Sophie Crépy via Musée d'Orsay
Explore: Musée d’Orsay
Musée d’Orsay is another noteworthy art museum located in Paris. Formerly the site of a railway station, today the building houses one of the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works by artists like van Gogh, Manet, Degas, and Courbet. You can stroll through the museum with streetview or click through and learn more about some of the masterpieces on display.
4. National Museum of Nature and Science | Tokyo
Source: National Museum of Nature and Science
Home to thousands of exhibits, the National Museum of Nature and Science covers a wide range of topics, from life on earth to Japan’s technological advances, and you can explore some of these exhibits online. You can easily spend hours exploring the mysteries of dinosaur evolution, discovering Earth’s origin, and learning about medical science in the Edo period, among others!
5. National Women’s History Museum | Virginia
Explore: National Women’s History Museum
Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum in Virginia is an online museum with a series of well-curated online exhibits, oral histories and stories that show the full scope of women’s accomplishments through the years. You can learn about the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of WWII, the women in NASA, and the history of women in the Olympics, among other things.
6. Dalí Theatre-Museum | Catalonia
Source: Joshua Mellin via CNN
Explore: Dalí Theatre-Museum
Wander into the world of Dalí with an interactive virtual tour of the Dalí Theatre-Museum, a museum dedicated to the renowned artist Salvador Dalí in his hometown of Figueres, in Catalonia, Spain. In addition to a diverse collection of Dalí’s paintings and sculptures, you can also find three-dimensional collages, mechanical devices as well as Dalí’s collection of works by other artists. Dalí himself lies buried in a crypt below the stage floor.
7. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History | Washington, D.C.
Source: Chip Clark via Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Home to an extensive collection of specimens of plants, fossils, rocks, human remains, and cultural artefacts, among others, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is one of the most visited natural history museum in the world.
Human traffic will not be an issue with the museum’s virtual tour. You can take room-by-room tours of select exhibits, areas within the museum as well as select collections and research areas at the museum’s support center and research stations. You will also be able to access past exhibits that are no longer on display.
8. The British Museum | London
Source: The British Museum
Explore: The British Museum
Did you know that The British Museum was the first public national museum in the world? Established in 1753, the museum’s collection of artefacts representing the various cultures of the world has since grown more extensive over the centuries. Part of the comprehensive collection, which records over two million years of human history and culture, can be explored on the museum’s online database as well as on Google Arts & Culture.
9. The Metropolitan Museum of Art | New York
Source: Association of Research Institutes in Art History
Explore: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
United States’ largest art museum, The Met is home to over 2 million works of fine art from around the world, spanning over 5,000 years. But you don’t have to be on the ground to experience their grand collection. The establishment offers a series of ways you can explore the museum from home, such as audio guides, 360-degree videos, a database of artworks, as well as a section designed for kids known as #MetKids, that you can access on their website. Part of the museum and collection can also be explored on Google Arts & Culture.
10. Vatican Museums | Vatican City
Explore: Vatican Museums
Can you imagine getting an up-close view of the renaissance art masterpieces at the Vatican Museums? Because you can.
The Vatican Museums wherein lies a spectacular collection of artworks by well-known names like Michelangelo, da Vinci, Dalí, and Picasso, offer virtual tours of the different places in the museum grounds. The virtual tours allow you a 360-degree view of the interiors of the buildings, so be sure to look up, especially when you’re inside the Sistine Chapel.