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These 22 Famous Museums Are Offering Virtual Tours

These 22 Famous Museums Are Offering Virtual Tours

You can see the worldwide masterpieces through these museum virtual tours from famous museums.


UPDATED Oct. 23: These kid-friendly museums in NYC and across the globe are offering virtual tours and exhibits, so you can experience culture from your couch.

For many of us, visiting a museum is a luxury we take for granted. While this city offers some of the world’s most masterful works, we rarely take the time out of our busy schedules to see them. That’s why it’s fortunate (and perhaps ironic) that now, while we’re staying home with time to spare, is the time we can lose ourselves in exhibits. The following kid-friendly museums have put their exhibits online for easy virtual viewing. And you don’t just have to stay local—check out some of the world’s greatest institutions. Who said quarantining had to lack culture?

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Virtual Tours of New York’s Kid-Friendly Museums

American Museum of Natural History

If you’re nostalgic for that big blue whale, check out these 2,160 items from the American Museum of Natural History’s collection—from dinosaur skeletons to insects. The museum is also offering previously recorded tours on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Children's Museum of the Arts

The kids are the stars in Children's Museum of the Arts' collection of more than 2,000 pieces of children’s art from around the world. There’s also a rotating series of contemporary artwork by emerging and established artists, including Leon Bibel’s monochromatic seemingly simply prints, and With Liberty and Justice for Some, a group of diverse portraits of U.S. immigrants.

The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Now is a perfect time to “wander” through the Cloister’s magnificent monasteries (located in the Bronx but now online), where art and architecture of medieval Europe is on virtual display.

The Frick Collection

The elegant Frick displays 201 works of art on its site, from Rembrandt to Gainsborough, including the Italian paintings and bronzes, Dutch 17th-century works of art, and Chinese porcelains. Every Wednesday at 5pm, a curator will take viewers on virtual journeys to cultural and historic sites relevant to Frick and its history. The episodes premiere for members first and then are posted on the Frick YouTube channel the following week. 

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

While the Intrepid is usually a hands-on experience, kids can still check out the Concorde G-BOAD and the Submarine Growler, as well as learn about technologically groundbreaking aircrafts and American innovation and bravery.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met’s collection is like a best-of from the last 5,000 years of world art, from Coco Chanel’s designs to A New Look at Vermeer. Think of it as that history class you never took, that’s now available from your couch.

New York Botanical Garden

While NYBG’s gates are temporarily closed, it’s bringing the power of plants to you with a virtual walk through the Spring Landscape. Plus, the garden has a variety of ways to connect with plants and plant-lovers while you’re stuck inside.

The New York Landmarks Conservancy

The conservancy is offering a video series called Tourist In Your Own Town, which includes virtual tours of historic landmarks, including President Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace and the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Take a virtual stroll down the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed rotunda, past tremendous self-portraits by Catherine Opie and Rashid Johnson’s New Black Yoga exhibit. You can also wander through the galleries of the Tannhauser Collection of Impressionism and Early Modern Art.

Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney’s online collection includes 60 of its most famous paintings from the 20th century, including Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, and Joseph Stella.



Cooper Hewitt

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, which holds more than 210,000 objects that range from ancient Egyptian art to contemporary 3-D printed objects, is offering several online exhibits. including Botanical Expressions, which shows how gardens influenced designers including Christopher Dresser, Emile Gallé, William Morris, and Louis Comfort Tiffany; and African American Design, which features objects created by prominent African American designers that date back to 1950.  

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Virtual Tours of Kid-Friendly Museums Across the Globe

The Louvre

How about a trip to Paris? Grab a baguette (or whatever sustenance your kids haven’t yet eaten) and explore the Louvre's Egyptian antiquities and the recently restored Galerie d'Apollon, which houses the famous “Apollo Slaying the Serpent Python,” by Delacroix (1851).

The Boston Children’s Museum

The kids will enjoy this trip through the second-oldest children's museum in the United States, where they can become dinosaur experts and learn about Japanese culture at the Japanese House, a real two-story townhouse from Kyoto.

British Museum, London

Tour the Great Court or discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies, among hundreds of other artifacts at this famous historical institution.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

This famous American-art museum is offering two online exhibits: American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras; and works by Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Check out the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and more than 750 personal letters. You can also find out about Van Gogh’s love life and which books he read.

The National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

This collection of over 21,000 works focuses on images of famous Americans and how they’ve shaped U.S. culture. The virtual tour features 10 collections (including “First Ladies” and “Portraits of African Americans”) and also offers digital workshops and learning resources for kids.

The Picasso Museum, Barcelona

This Barcelona-based museum contains 4,251 works by the famous painter, most of which you can see on the online tour—which also includes photos of Picasso’s homes and studios in Spain.

The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

Marvel at the magnificent ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. The primary panels of the ceiling showcase nine scenes from the Book of Genesis. 

The National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

The 11th most visited museum in the world has over 325,000 square feet of exhibition space, with 145 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts including the Hope Diamond and the Star of Asia Sapphire—which are now viewable from your own home. 

The National Air & Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

You can “walk” through the whole space and aviation themed museum which contains the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, the Friendship 7 capsule, the Wright brothers’ Wright Flyer airplane, and Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis.

The National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.


Check out the original Star-Spangled Banner, Julia Child’s kitchen, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, and Indiana Jones’ fedora and whip in the museum’s online exhibits—each with a mix of photos, video, graphics, and text.

  
Main image: A screen shot of the whale at the American Museum of Natural History, which you can see on the Google Maps street view as part of Google Arts & Culture

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Shana Liebman

Author:

Shana Liebman is the features editor of NYMP. She’s a writer and editor who has worked for magazines including New York MagazineSalon, and Travel & Leisure—and she is the mom of two energetic little boys.

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