Social distancing policies have expanded for another 30 days. To help “flatten the curve” when it comes to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), institutions and organizations around the world have enacted temporary closures—from schools to museums, libraries to theaters, and more.
How do you keep your homeschoolers entertained and engaged despite these closures? Virtual art museum tours represent one of many ways. They expose kids to new artwork and artifacts despite “stay at home” orders.
Let’s take a look at the many fantastic options for exploring the world’s great cultural centers.
1. Google Arts and Culture
The Google Arts and Culture app is an excellent resource for families. This online platform brings together artwork from more than 2,500 different galleries and museums all over the world in one handy digital location. The app’s featured collections for each museum vary, but most include street views as well as digital exhibits.
Our favorite feature of the app? “Art Selfie,” which lets you take a selfie and then search it against thousands of portraits to see whom you most closely resemble. Besides Google Arts and Culture, art museums across the planet have created virtual field trips. Let’s take a closer look.
2. The Musée du Louvre in Paris, France
The Louvre museum virtual tour will let your kids explore culturally rich exhibits from the Petite Galerie’s “Advent of the Artist” (featuring Delacroix, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, and more) to the Galerie d’Apollon’s homage to Louis XIV, the Sun King, by Le Brun. There’s also a tour of the Louvre’s original moat, built in 1190 AD to protect against Viking raiders, and the iconic Sully wing’s Egyptian antiquities.
3. The British Museum in London, UK
The British Museum contains a world-renowned collection of artifacts and artwork from all over the world. For example, the museum’s Oceania virtual tour examines the culture and artifacts of the indigenous people of Australia, New Guinea, and the many islands spread across the South Pacific. You can also glimpse into a variety of rooms showcasing artifacts from China, South Asia, and Greece.
4. Metropolitan Museum in New York City, USA
The Metropolitan Museum’s award-winning short videos, created for the Met 360° Project, let online visitors explore its iconic art and architecture. Videographers used spherical 360° technology to create each exhibit’s virtual tour. Among our favorites for kids? The Temple of Dendur, constructed in 15 BCE during the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus, and the arms and armor galleries, perfect for kids enamored by fairy tales about knights in shining armor.
5. National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., USA
The National Gallery of Art offers virtual field trips and a variety of online learning opportunities. They include video and audio recordings of lectures by curators and artists. From an exploration of masterworks by Degas, Raphael, and more to lesson plans, films, and other virtual learning resources, you’ll love their interactive tools.
6. National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece
The largest museum in Greece, the National Archaeological Museum contains a stunning collection of ancient artifacts recovered from Attica and other parts of the country. With more than 11,000 exhibits, the museum offers an in-depth look into daily life in Greece, from prehistory to late antiquity. It also houses an exceptional collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts. You can explore a small sampling of these varied collections online. The online collections feature beautiful photos and fascinating, though sophisticated, descriptions. Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic resource for you and your kids to explore the museum together.
7. Musei Vaticani in Vatican City, Italy
The Musei Vaticani in Vatican City contains impressive works of art, spanning the history of the Western Tradition. Now you and your kids can explore the riches of this museum online through a variety of gorgeous videos and stunning photographs. Highlights include Raphael’s Rooms and the 360° virtual tour of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
8. The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia
The Hermitage Museum encompasses an impressive 2,511,705 square feet (233,345 square meters) and houses 1,014,806 works of art, 808,695 archaeological artifacts, and many other objects. It contains a variety of options for virtual exploration, including a museum webcam and a comprehensive 360° virtual museum tour. During the tour, you’ll explore everything from Italian Renaissance paintings to French Impressionist masterworks. The second-largest art museum in the world after the Louvre, the Hermitage is housed in a stunning palace complex as impressive as the art lining its walls.
9. Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy
The Galleria degli Uffizi offers virtual tours of its exhibits, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt. Your kids can explore some of Italy’s most influential masterpieces while learning about each artist. There’s also a comprehensive digital archive for older students and parents.
10. Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain
The Museo Nacional del Prado’s website contains a variety of interactive and educational resources. These include apps like Second Canvas, which lets your kids explore Western painting, and the Dauphin’s Treasure, a sneak peek into a royal fortune. The museum has also embarked on a project using artificial intelligence to create artistic timelines spanning the Western tradition. Finally, you can explore the museum’s incredible collection by artist. You and your kids will never look at art the same way!
Around-the-World Virtual Art Museum Tours
The ten virtual art museum tours above will let you and your kids explore some of the most iconic and renowned art museums on the planet. In the process, you’ll enjoy the chance to learn more about cultures across the globe.
At Our Whole Village, we craft transformational trips for curious families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its people, and its cultures. While traveling doesn’t make sense at the moment, there’s no reason you can’t plan and dream! When the time’s right, we’ll be here, crafting unforgettable journeys for adventure-seeking families just like yours.