Some of the best facets of traveling are getting to see the most important parts of the world’s history. Remember the days of seeing sacred sites that contributed to our way of life as we know it today? Visiting museums and getting a look at culturally significant art, old and new? Don’t fret, we can now take a virtual culture trip together, from home!
Our much-loved museums and art galleries may be closing their doors due to the current outbreak, but don’t worry. Curators are getting super creative and technology advanced with how the public can view their collections, and many are catering to an online audience with insanely good virtual tours.
Top-tier institutions around the world have extensive online archives, meaning you can take a digital stroll through art history from the comfort of your home. There are some fascinating exhibitions at your fingertips – all of which are free.
Thanks to advanced 3D rendering, we are now able to access heritage preservation around the world from our homes. Explore the stories and 3D models of historic locations utilizing Google street view. So grab a cup of tea, settle into the sofa (or hammock… wherever you are!) and gear up for some seriously enlightening self-isolation with these museums and sacred sites you can explore from home. We’re going on a virtual culture trip.
From ancient cathedrals, earthquake-damaged temples, religious sites, caves, cliffs, and rock art, Google has accumulated advanced 3D renderings of the earths most iconic locations around the world. You can spend a few hours easily getting lost in the history.
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Pergamon Museum, Berlin
The Pergamonmuseum is a listed building on the Museum Island in the historic centre of Berlin and part of the UNESCO World Heritage. As one of Germany’s largest museums, Pergamon has a lot to offer – even if you can’t physically be there. This historical museum is home to plenty of ancient artifacts including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and, of course, the Pergamon Altar.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
The museum was first established in 1969 as the only national art museum in the country accommodating modern and contemporary art of Korea and international art of different time periods.
It’s exhibitions can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Google’s virtual tour takes you through six floors of contemporary art from Korea and all over the globe.
Explore the masterworks from the Dutch Golden Age, including works from Vermeer and Rembrandt. Google offers a Street View tour of this iconic museum, so you can feel as if you’re actually wandering its halls.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Anyone who is a fan of this tragic, ingenious painter can see his works up close (or, almost up close) by virtually visiting this museum – the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
You can scroll through more than 300,000 works in the digital archives of the Uffizi, Florence’s treasure chest of Renaissance art. Botticelli, Titian and Canaletto – all the big ones are here. Click on the HyperVisions tab for thoughtfully curated tours around themes such as angels, epiphany and ‘intercultural vision’. Deep.
Virtual tour of the Uffizi Gallery, MASP, São Paulo
The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a non-profit and Brazil’s first modern museum. Artworks placed on clear perspex frames make it seem like the artwork is hovering in midair. Take a virtual tour to experience the wondrous display for yourself.
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National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
Built in 1964, this museum is dedicated to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic heritage. There are 23 exhibit rooms filled with ancient artifacts, including some from the Mayan civilization.
Sadly, not all popular art museums and galleries could be included on Google Arts & Culture’s collection, but some museums are taking it upon themselves to offer online visits. According to Fast Company, the Louvre also offers virtual tours on its website.
Picasso Museum, Barcelona
As well as a vast online catalog of Pablo’s best bits, this temple to all things Picasso offers a 360-degree tour of some of the best-preserved Medieval architecture in Barcelona. When you’re done snooping around the building, check out their Twitter hashtag #MuseuPicassoVirtual to break up your newsfeed with daily doses of art.
Virtual culture trip tour of Picasso Museum
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The MFA is one of the many world-class museums you can tour via Google Arts & Culture. You can also see curators and collections on the museum’s YouTube channel. Also be sure to click around the museum’s homepage to learn about upcoming exhibitions so you know what to expect when we’re able to visit again.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s offerings—82 in all—include some of the world’s finest example of artworks from the Renaissance to Impressionism. You can also experience the museum’s fabulous courtyard via street view.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
European artworks from as far back as the 8th Century can be found in this California art museum. Take a Street View tour to discover a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Covering 5,000 years of art history, The Met has 200,770 objects online. Their offerings on Google include experiences like “A New Look At Vermeer.” The Met’s home site offers features on current shows, like their major retrospective of the German painter Gerhard Richter and street view tours of key attractions like The Temple Of Dendur.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City
Grouped into categories such as contemporary art, Modern Art and Cubism, the 129 artworks from MoMA’s collection featured on Google include some of its most famous holdings—Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Paul Cézanne’s Still Life with Apples, Henri Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy—complete with a street view button below each image that allows a 360 degree view of the location for each work. MoMA’s home site offers installation photos of current exhibits plus its online cache of 84,000 works searchable by artist, title and year.
The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami
Located on the campus of Florida International University, The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum is one of South Florida’s key cultural institutions. Its online selection features objects from Africa, Meso-American Peru and Japan, with the latter including a fascinating series of late-19th-century color woodblock prints featuring battle scenes from the Sino-Japanese War of 1894.
Time at home is well spent while brushing up on your history and discovering a new favorite piece of art. While it’s not exactly the same as being awe-inspired in person, a virtual culture trip is a close second to utilize the internet in all of it’s glorious capabilities to give you a good dose of culture.
What’s your favorite sacred site or exhibition? I’d love to hear in the comments!
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Christine is a twenty-something coffee-obsessed traveler from a small town in the US. She sold everything 3 years ago to follow her curiosity around the world.
As a passionate freelance graphic designer, digital nomad, and photographer, she has explored it all! Her mission is to help others live their dream lifestyles around what lights them up.