Travel may not be possible at the moment, but there are still opportunities to escape your living room. Plenty of museums and art galleries around the world are here to help, offering virtual tours of their permanent collections and exhibitions, activity ideas, and interactive resources. Sure, you might prefer to be visiting Paris or Seoul in person, but online visits have their benefits.
Taking an online tour means you can really take your time. There’s no pressure to move off to another painting and no need to worry you won’t have time to check out the whole gallery or museum (the Louvre, for example, houses over 70,000 artworks).
Enjoy a very private experience
With no other visitors, there’s no chance of getting lost in the crowd as you attempt to glimpse the Mona Lisa. If this article is any indication, visiting many of the most popular museums means jostling for space, battling elbows, and gasping for air; according to one of the experts quoted, it can feel “like a rugby match.” An online tour gives you all the breathing room you could want. Explore the Museum Guggenheim Bilbao or the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, or the British Museum. Take your time—you have the whole place to yourself.
Discover new perspectives
In real life, can you get so close to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that you can appreciate the fine detail of Michelangelo’s figures and his use of bright colours? Definitely not. Through your screen, though, you can roam freely and even float up to the height of the ceiling, no neck strain involved. Interactive art tours give you the opportunity to see art up close (with no risk of incurring a security guard’s ill-will). Enjoy this intimate view of Anselm Kiefer’s work, this funny little chess piece, and these portrait miniatures.
Enjoy your art with a snack
Make it a truly educational experience
Many of the exhibitions come with educational text that guides you, points out specific details, and provides historical context. Learn about the abstract expressionists, the sculptural body, ancient Egypt, and the butterflies of the Amazon. Register for a virtual guided tour of the Guggenheim, listen to the British Museum podcast, and discover the paintings of the National Gallery.
People the world over have been re-making famous works of art from home. For some inspiration, check out these accounts: Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Getty Museum, and the Russian ‘Art Isolation’ group. Some favourites include Hokusai’s Great Wave (featuring bananas), a very topical take on allegorical painting, an imaginative Chagall, the Last Supper, and a Dali for the COVID-19 era.
Identify your personal highlights
Best of all, you can discover exactly what to bookmark for future in-person visits. Consider this online exploration half art history education, half trip planning.