Social distancing got you down? Yeah, me too.
If you’ve decided to make the most out of it, the chances are you’re reading, streaming and gaming more than ever. Self-quarantine however–no matter how many times we join a group ZOOM chat–leaves something to be desired in the way of arts and culture. Few cultural activities compare to an afternoon stroll through our favorite museum or gallery.
All is not lost, though.
Google Arts & Culture has recently collaborated with over 2500 museums and exhibits across the globe which essentially brings the museums to us. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to the Uffizi in Florence, these virtual museum tours feature some of the world’s most famous locations.
The collection curated by Google features an interactive world map that allows virtual visitors to choose their destination by country. This stride by the Arts & Culture team serves more than just an entertainment purpose to those looking to cure their boredom during quarantine, it’s also a great educational tool for anyone from kids to college students looking to learn more about art and history.
Below is a list of our favorite virtual museum tours curated by the Google Arts & Culture team. Here’s hoping this will brighten your time with social distancing as much as it has ours.
Uffizi Gallery | Florence, Italy
One of my personal favorites from my visit to Florence, Uffizi is not only one of the most prominent museums in Tuscany, but perhaps in all of Italy. Located just near the Piazza Della Signoria in Florence’s Historic Center, Uffizi features works from the Italian Renaissance. It’s also among the most frequently visited in the city. So a virtual tour here is certainly devoid of tourist crowds, to say the least. Their 360-degree virtual tour allows you to walk through the museum’s entirety.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art | New York City, USA
If we can’t go to The Met on our day off, we’re going to go to The Met from our couches. Google’s Street View lets us take a walk through The Met itself as well as view former and current exhibitions. For instance, you can still check out designer Rei Kawakubo’s “Art of the In-Between” from 2017 and Christian Dior’s “The New Look” via the online catalog. The Met features over 5,000 years of historic and contemporary art from around the globe.
Rmn-Grand Palais | Paris, France
This famous Parisian art museum features four walkable street views and 37 online exhibitions. The Rmn-Grand Palais–short for “Réunion des musées nationaux Grand Palais”–is more than just a museum, it’s a cultural hub for guest speakers, artists and students alike. Founded in 2011, the Rmn-Grand Palais sees over 2.5 million visitors. You can even see how The Grand Palais monument (its namesake) was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900 via their Google Arts & Culture page.
Van Gogh Museum | Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you’re a Vincent van Gogh fan, Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum will probably top your list. While you can’t physically be there right now, virtual tours of the iconic museum’s every floor, and their Google Arts & Culture page takes you through collections ranging from Post-Impressionism to Cubism. And if you’re an even bigger fan of the late Dutch painter, you can also check out the museum’s online exhibit, “Which Books did Vincent van Gogh Read.”
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art | Seoul, South Korea
If you haven’t been, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (or MMCA) in Seoul is perhaps the country’s most famous museum. The MMCA which opened back in 1969 (and opened subsequent branches throughout the years) lives through sharing a broad history of Korean art and culture. You can take a walk through its many grounds via Google’s Street View, and view MMCA’s 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Korean Modern Masters: Yoo Youngkuk 1916~2002 collection here.
Altes Museum | Berlin, Germany
Built in 1830, neoclassical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Altes Museum Staatliche Museen zu Berlin sits on the City’s Museum Island. Reminiscent of Rome’s Pantheon–with its fluted columns and massive atrium–Altes underwent a neoclassical restoration in 2010. It was originally built to house the Prussian royal family’s art collection. Online, you can view the museum’s Antikensammlung, which features a permanent exhibit of art and artifacts from the Etruscans, Romans and Greeks.
The MAK – Museum of Applied Arts | Vienna, Austria
The MAK – Museum of Applied Arts was one of my personal favorites when I visited Austria’s fabled capital last year. The museum itself was actually started by the Imperial RoyalAustrian Museum of Art and Industry back in the 19th century. Its online exhibits and virtual street views give you but a glimpse of how special it truly is–you can check out “The Hamzanama” exhibit online, a collection of 60 paintings that tell a story dating back to 500 to 600 AD.
While some of your favorite museums might be missing from the list, this collection curated by Google is a huge stride in bringing culture to our homes during a time of crisis. As time draws on, many more museums are making themselves and their exhibits via virtual means.