How to visit the world’s best museums from your home

Some of the most extensive art and artifact collections can be viewed from your couch.

Emily Coffey, Deputy Arts and Entertainment Editor

COVID-19 caused most museums to temporarily close last year, some of which have still  not re-opened. The solution, as with most pandemic-related problems, has been to convert a real-life experience into a virtual one. Avid museum-goers can get the second-best thing to actually visiting the museum, for free. Here is a list of the best museums to visit online. 

THE LOUVRE

Though the whole museum can be viewed from their growing catalog, the still closed-down Louvre has some of the cleanest, most captivating virtual exhibits. Ranging from a post-classical era exhibit to an exhibit exploring mythology from the myths of the Illiad to Darth Vader, museum goers can “walk” around these four exhibits and view the art and stunning architecture that has made the Louvre so iconic. However, these virtual exhibits feature only a portion of the extensive collection of the Louvre, so viewers may leave wanting more. 

THE GUGGENHEIM

This museum takes their online approach little differently: through paid group virtual tours. Priced at about $10 a head for a group of 20, this is a unique way to spend the night in with some close friends, socially distanced in a living room or on separate Zoom screens.

THE MET

The MET 360° Project allows viewers to “explore The Met as never before” in a series of  engaging videos filmed so that viewers would get an experience even those in person can not. All videos are suitable for smartphones, browser or VR goggles. Some allow a birdseye view of the museum itself, while others explore the indoor architecture and reconstruction of the Temple of Dendur or their Arms and Armor Galleries. Especially bewitching is the nearly-empty Charles Engelhard Court which slides from one end of the gallery to the next. The uncrowded and peaceful view of the gallery is arguably better than the real thing. 

GOOGLE ARTS AND CULTURE

The most extensive example of an online art experience can be found on Google’s arts and culture project. They have compiled a plethora of information and images of some of the world’s best artists and museums, including  Georgie O’Keefe, Berlin’s Museum Island and a snapshot of the inside of the Acropolis. This is the most extensive and streamlined way to view art and makes for a very user-friendly experience. 

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

A night at the museum can be found on the website of the Smithsonian, too. Their virtual experiences cover everything from the African Bush to their Outbreak Exhibit. Though users can not interact with the museum’s features the same way as in person, the gems—literal and figurative—featured throughout are worth a look. 

A starting list of the museums adapting to COVID-19 policies and restrictions, the move towards virtual reality is undeniable and seemingly permanent. The bright sides are these collections, perfect for a smaller pocket book, and a desire to stay safe.  

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