The 40 best virtual museum tours

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The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has forced many, if not all, major museums, art galleries and cultural institutions to indefinitely close their doors to the public. But there are still ways you can get an eyeful of the art.

Take a virtual museum tour

Google Arts and Culture hosts content from over 2,000 leading museums, and many popular tourist destinations have uploaded interactive experiences to their websites. Here are 40 of the best virtual museum tours.

Louvre museum
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1. The Louvre, Paris

The iconic French museum — its pyramid entrance (pictured) features heavily in “The Da Vinci Code” — offers several virtual tours on its website. You can also virtually experience the Mona Lisa via a free smartphone app, available on iOS and Android.

Vatican museum
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2. Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome

Take a 360-degree tour of the Vatican Museums’ most popular draws, including the Raphael Rooms, Pauline Halls and, of course, the Sistine Chapel.

The British Museum
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3. The British Museum, London

London’s public museum offers numerous ways to virtually view its expansive collections. See the Rosetta Stone by visiting the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery on Google Street View, then visit “some of the most fascinating objects in human history” via the online Museum of the World.

Van Gogh Museum
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4. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Fans of the famed artist can virtually visit some of his greatest works, including 200 paintings, 500 drawings and more than 750 letters, via Google Arts and Culture.

The Met
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5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

The popular New York City museum recently partnered with Verizon to launch The Met Unframed, a mobile-only immersive art and gaming experience that features over a dozen digital galleries and nearly 50 works of art.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
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6. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

Take a  virtual stroll down the Guggenheim’s famous spiral gallery, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, via Google Arts and Culture, then head over to the museum’s website to learn more about its collection. Serious art buffs can book a virtual group tour for $215 an hour for 20 participants, though there are discounts for larger groups, students or museum members. 

Museum of Fine Arts Boston
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7. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Move around the museum to music with this Google Arts and Culture video or stream classes, conversations, performances and more via its website.

Musée d’Orsay
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8. Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Learn how the famed Orsay railway station, designed by architect Victor Laloux, was transformed into the museum it is today in this Google Arts and Culture exhibit, then scroll through the museum’s online collection.

Frida Kahlo Museum
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9. Museo Frida Kahlo, Mexico City, Mexico

The museum, also known as La Casa Azul or The Blue House, was home to renowned Latin American artist Frida Kahlo for much of her life. (She died there in 1954.) Virtually tour its garden, studio and kitchen through Google Arts and Culture

Mauritshuis Museum
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10. Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands

Get more familiar with famed Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer by visiting this 3D virtual gallery of all his works, courtesy of the Mauritshuis museum.

State Hermitage Museum
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11. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Take a 360-degree virtual tour of the second-largest art museum in the world, which features more than three million works of art and artifacts.

Museu de Arte de São Paulo
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12. Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, Brazil

Peruse six online collections from Brazil’s first modern museum through Google Arts and Culture, which includes works by Rafael, Monet, Degas, Cézanne and Van Gogh.

The National Gallery
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13. The National Gallery, London

The museum partnered with Oculus to create a special virtual reality tour of its Sainsbury Wing, which features over 270 paintings from the early Renaissance. A 360-degree version of the experience is available on mobile and desktop devices.

National Museum of Korea, Seoul
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14. National Museum of Korea, Seoul

Take a 360-degree virtual tour of eight exhibits, including “10,000 Years of Design,” “Nomadic Empires of the Mongolian Steppes” and “The Etruscans: Rising to Rome” via the National Museum of Korea’s website. 

Pergamon museum
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15. Pergamon museum, Berlin

Take a virtual visit to the Pergamon Altar, a partially reconstructed 2,000-year-old building featuring Hellenistic art via Google Arts and Culture before viewing more pieces through the museum’s online database.

The J. Paul Getty Museum
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16. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Get up close and personal with Van Gogh’s “Irises” by taking the museum’s Google Arts and Culture virtual tour. You can also “visit” 20 online exhibits, including “Pastels in Pieces” and “Pride at Getty.”

Tokyo National Museum
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17. Tokyo National Museum

Virtually visit the museum, which houses artworks and antiquities from Japan and other Asian countries via Google Arts and Culture. The museum’s page also features a detailed look at “Maple Viewers” by 16th century artist Kano Hideyori.

The Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain
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18. The Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain

Get your contemporary art fix by virtually visiting The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by architect Frank Gehry via Google Arts and Culture. A video tour guided by free-runner Johan Tonnoir helps you get a better sense of the building, while the online exhibits let you get up close and personal with some of the museum’s most iconic artwork.

Uffizi Gallery
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19. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

Take a virtual stroll through the Gallery, which houses many notable works of the Renaissance era, including Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.”

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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20. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Bring the kids along on a virtual tour of the museum, accessible through both its website and Google Arts and Culture. You can even “stroll” through the gift shop.

Rijksmuseum
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21. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

You can take four different virtual walks through the Dutch national museum, which houses many famous works by Vermeer and Rembrandt, via Google Arts and Culture.

The Art Institute of Chicago
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22. The Art Institute of Chicago

See pointillist Georges Seurat’s most famous work “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” on this virtual tour of one of the largest art museums in the U.S.

Acropolis Museum
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23. Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

Take a trip back to ancient Greece by virtually visiting this archaeological museum, which houses over 3.000 artifacts from the Athenian Acropolis.

 Los Angeles County Museum of Art
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24. Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Fashion buffs can virtually walk through the museum’s exhibit “Reigning Men,” a collection that “celebrates three hundred years of restraint and resplendence in menswear.”

Museum Folkwang
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25. Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany

Explore the museum’s entrance hall and “New Worlds” collection, which combines artwork of different mediums and genres and spans across 25 halls. 

National Museum in Kraków
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26. National Museum in Kraków, Poland

Take one (or all) of four virtual tours of Poland’s largest museum before scrolling through six online exhibits, including a journey through Polish artist Józef Czapski’s painting “Train de Banlieue” on Google Arts and Culture.

Museum of Fine Arts Budapest
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27. Museum of Fine Arts Budapest, Hungary

Virtually visit Hungary’s largest fine art museum, which features everything from prehistoric to modern art through Google Arts and Culture. You can also take a digital deep dive into “The Sermon of Saint John the Baptist” by Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

La Galleria Nazionale
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28. La Galleria Nazionale, Rome, Italy

Lovers of modern Italian art can take a virtual tour of the museum’s Cortile dei Romani, Cortile dei Saturnali, central courtyard, entrance and main gallery. They can also view 16 online exhibits, including “Time Is Out of Joint,” which incorporates art from the 1800s to the present.

Nationalmuseum Sweden
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29. Nationalmuseum Sweden, Stockholm

You can take a 360-degree tour of Sweden’s flagship art and design museum through Google Arts and Culture, before clicking through its online exhibit that celebrates Swedish women artists.

The Cloisters
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30. The Cloisters, New York City

The Cloisters is a four-acre extension of The Metropolitan Museum of Art that highlights the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Take a virtual walk through its halls via Google Arts and Culture, where you can also learn more about a few of its signature items.

Art Gallery of New South Wales
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31. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Peruse the museum’s collections of Australian, European and Asian art via four virtual tours and four online exhibits on Google Arts and Culture.

The Chrysler Museum
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32. The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia

Take a virtual tour of the (formerly) private art collections of Walter P. Chrysler Jr., heir to the Chrysler Corporation, who donated more than 10,000 works of art to the city of Norfolk in 1971. The museum’s collection has expanded significantly since Chrysler died in 1988 and includes a lauded glass studio.

Museo di Capodimonte
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33. Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy

Get your fill of chiaroscuro (the use of contrast between light and dark) by virtually visiting the museum on Google Arts and Culture. Its page features 18 different digital walkthroughs and 16 online exhibits, including three showcases of the works of Italian painter (and chiaroscuro king) Caravaggio.

The National Museum of Art Oslo
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34. The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo

You can take a 360-degree tour of Norway’s largest museum on Google Arts and Culture, then head over to its website, which lets virtual visitors assemble their own collections.

Schonbrunn Palace
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35. Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

Get your fill of Baroque art by virtually visiting this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, which previously served as the summer residence for Habsburg Monarchy.

 American Museum of Natural History
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36. American Museum of Natural History, New York City

Need an activity to keep the kids busy? Virtually visit the museum’s famous blue whale (and other educational exhibits) via Google Arts and Culture.

Looking for more COVID-friendly family fun? Check out these 45 cheap indoor activities for kids

 Galleria d'Arte Moderna
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37. Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan

Virtual museum-goers can spend a ton of time at northern Italy’s modern art museum, which hosts eight digital tours and six online exhibits on its Google Arts and Culture page. You can also access virtual reality tours of the museum by installing the Google Arts and Culture app, available for Android and iOS.

Vancouver Art Gallery
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38. Vancouver Art Gallery

You can take a virtual trip through Canada’s colorful art museum via Google Arts and Culture. Be sure to also check out its online modern art exhibit from novelist and artist Douglas Coupland.

Museu Oscar Niemeyer
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39. Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba

Get a look inside Brazil’s visual arts, architecture and design museum by taking the 360-degree on Google Arts and Culture. You can also scroll through 16 online exhibits, including one that features the works of Brazilian furniture designers Humberto and Fernando Campana.

Château de Fontainebleau
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40. Château de Fontainebleau, Fontainebleau, France

Virtually visit the former residence of all the French monarchs via Google Arts and Culture. The castle’s 1,500 rooms now showcase close to 30,000 works of art.

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This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Main Image Credit: Marc_Osborne / iStock

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Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski is a veteran personal finance journalist and content strategist, she has previously served as the Head of Content at Policygenius, Executive Editor of Credit.com and a columnist for Inc. Magazine. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, American Banker Magazine, Newsweek, Business Insider, CNBC and more.

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