The world’s art museums are full of treasures. Thanks to advances in technology we can view them from the comfort of our armchairs. Virtual art museum tours are a great way to see incredible artworks without travelling. Whether you’re into contemporary painting or traditional artworks, you’re sure to enjoy these virtual museum tours.
Virtual Art Museum Tours
While it would be fun to visit all the best museums in the world, that’s not easy to do. However, with these art museum virtual tours, you can explore them from your own home.
More and more museums are making their collections accessible to all online. Quite a few of the famous museums featured here have special kid friendly tours too.
Google Arts & Culture have also partnered with hundreds of museums and art galleries worldwide to create virtual tours of art museums. These include The Guggenheim and MoMA in New York and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea.
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17. Belvedere Museum, Vienna
Let’s start with a museum that is as beautiful inside as outside. Belvedere Museum, or The Österreichische Galerie Belvedere to give its full name, is located within the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria.
The former Summer residence of Prince Eugene, it’s now as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture.
After Prince Eugene’s death, it became an art gallery. Among the permanent collection highlights are works by Egon Schiele and Hans Makart.
The Upper Belvedere houses the largest collection of Gustav Klimt artworks in the world. This includes the famous painting, The Kiss, which shimmers thanks to the use of gold leaf.
The Belvedere has several online digital guided tours on their website and social media channels. They have also made available 360° museum views of the Upper and Lower Belvedere galleries, and a Smartify app offering free audio tours.
16. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Housed in an extraordinary building inspired by Venetian palaces, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum showcases over 2000 objects from around the world. Isabella Stewart Gardner was an art collector who sadly lost her only child to pneumonia.
Travelling around the world with her husband gave Isabella a renewed purpose in life. She built this three floor museum to house her collection of artifacts, including sculptures, paintings, photographs and textiles.
In 1990, two men committed the world’s largest unsolved art theft, stealing thirteen artworks. A virtual museum tour shows you where these masterpieces originally hung. A $5 million reward is offered for their safe return.
15. British Museum, London
This famous London museum is actually the largest indoor space in the world on Google Street View. There are 60 galleries to explore, with historical artefacts like the Rosetta Stone in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery.
The British Museum also has two virtual galleries on their own website: Oceania and Prints and Drawings. Another good way to view the museum’s online exhibits is on their Google Arts & Culture pages. There are over 50 to choose from including Guatemalan Masks and Buddhist Art in Myanmar.
14. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Known as The Met for short, this is the largest art museum in the USA. After opening in 1870 at 681 Fifth Avenue, New York City, the main museum moved to its current location in 1880.
The spectacular Beaux-Arts facade was designed by Richard Morris Hunt. There are also two other branches of The Metropolitan Museum: The Met Breuer on Madison Avenue and The Met Cloisters in Northern Manhattan.
The Met is one of the best virtual museum tours for kids, thanks to its #MetKids map, created by children. They can explore the online collection map or hop in the Time Machine.
The Met 360° Project is a series of six award-winning videos created with 360° technology. They enable viewers to discover the museum’s key spaces with a virtual visit including The Great Hall and The Temple of Dendur.
13. Musée d’Orsay, Paris
One of the things that make this famous Parisian museum so special is the building it’s located in. A former railway station, it was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900.
Take a virtual art museum tour of the Musée d’Orsay building, to admire works by Degas, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh.
12. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
The Getty Museum has partnered with Google Arts & Culture for a new exhibition in Pocket Gallery. This immersive exhibition feature creates a life sized virtual space using augmented reality.
Choose from several virtual rooms and explore the artworks by moving your phone. There are four virtual rooms, on the themes A Breath of Fresh Air, City Life, Music and Merriment and Around the Table. The app is available for iOS and Android phones.
11. National Gallery of the Cayman Islands
Discover artworks from the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean in the online exhibitions of Grand Cayman’s National Gallery. Founded in 1996, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) is the leading arts museum and education centre in the country.
They curate up to 6 exhibitions each year and also host over 25 education and outreach programs monthly for all age groups. There are currently four colorful exhibitions available as virtual tours.
These include an online tour of the National Art Collection; Cross Currents – Cayman Islands Biennial, showcasing 42 local artists; Bendel Hydes – A Retrospective, a retrospective of the artist’s 50 year career and Tidal Shift, featuring 26 artists. The current NGCI exhibition Island of Women – Life at Home During Our Maritime Years will also be available soon.
Access all the tours here: https://www.nationalgallery.org.ky/see/virtual-tours/. In addition, you can download free activity sheets and lesson plans for children here.
10. National Palace Museum, Taipei City
With almost 700,000 objects, the National Palace Museum in Taiwan is the largest collection of ancient Chinese artifacts in the world. Featuring rare items from the Neolithic period to the present day, the museum was founded in 1965.
There’s a fantastic range of guided virtual tours online, including the exterior as well as the interior of the building. Admire Zhishan Garden, the Pavilions and the Cage Changing Goose sculptue before heading indoors to explore the rest of the collection.
You can take one of four featured routes or simply click around the galleries depending on your interests. Handy floor plans will prevent you from getting lost! There’s also a fun time lapse of the museum.
9. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Spread over 80 galleries and showcasing 8,000 objects, The Rijksmuseum is one of the best art museums with virtual tours. Focusing primarily on Dutch art and history, it is housed in a magnificent Renaissance-Gothic style building designed by Pierre Cuypers.
Highlights of the museum’s collection include the Delft pottery collection, the 17th century dolls’ houses and the Night Watch by Rembrandt. The Milkmaid, by Dutch painter Vermeer is another subtly brilliant artwork.
8. Tate Britain, London
Featuring the finest British art, Tate Britain is located in a magnificent building on Millbank that dates from 1897. Their Walk Through British Art enables the online visitor to travel through time, admiring artworks from 1545 to the present day.
See paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Constable and William Blake. Room 60 celebrates the work of female artists such as Bridget Riley and Tracey Emin.
You can also take a Google virtual tour of the Pre-Raphaelite galleries. Works such as Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent and Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais have an ethereal charm.
7. The Louvre, Paris
Famous for its incomparable collections, The Louvre is also the largest art museum in the world. The building itself is a historical monument, with the main section dating from the 12th century.
The glass pyramid by I. M. Pei was added in 1989. The Louvre is known for works of art such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and David by Michelangelo.
It also has an extensive collection of French crown jewels and Egyptian antiquities. The Great Sphinx of Tanis and the ancient mummy are particularly impressive.
There are several Louvre online tours including The Advent of The Artist exhibition in the Petite Galerie with works by Rembrandt and Tintoretto. Don’t miss the virtual exhibits in the recently restored Galerie d’Apollon, with its central panel by Delacroix.
6. The National Gallery, London
With over 2,300 paintings, The National Gallery has an impressive collection of artworks from 1260 to 1900. One of the most visited museums in the world, it has an enviable location on Trafalgar Square.
The main building was designed by William Wilkins and opened in 1838. The Sainsbury Wing extension opened in 1991.
There are several virtual tours of the National Gallery, including a VR tour of the Sainsbury Wing, created in collaboration with Oculus. Using Matterport 3D technology, it showcases over 270 Early Renaissance paintings.
You can either enjoy the virtual 360° tour or experience it in virtual reality if you happen to have a VR headset. There’s also a Google virtual tour of 7 rooms and the Central Hall, which showcases works by Holbein, Titian and Veronese.
5. The Smithsonian, Washington D.C.
One of the best virtual art museums, The Smithsonian Institution is also the largest museum, research and education complex in the world. Several of the 19 galleries and museums have virtual tours available.
These include The National Museum of Natural History, the National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of Asian Art. There are also lots of online resources for educators available here. Kids will love the wide range of activities including how to make an Art Bot and Color Our Collections.
4. The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
One of the largest museums in the world, The Hermitage has over 3 million exhibits! Founded in 1764, the incredible collection spans 5,000 years.
The most popular visitor attraction in St Petersburg, it wows not only with its artworks but also with its architecture. Designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in the 1750s, The State Hermitage Museum was founded by Catherine the Great.
There are over 17,000 paintings including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens and Picasso. The Knight’s Hall examines the history of armoury in the 15th to 17th centuries.
Check out the Google virtual museum for other highlights including the Kolyvan Vase. It weights over 19 tonnes and is the largest single piece of jasper in the world.
3. The Vatican, Rome
There are 7 Vatican City virtual online tours including Raphael’s Rooms, the Chiaramonti Museum and the Niccoline Chapel. The latter is known for its fresco paintings by Fra Angelico.
2. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has a fun Unravel Van Gogh app. One of the best virtual art museum tours, it allows you to discover how Vincent Van Gogh worked.
Peel back layers of paint and comparing his paintings with postcards of the time. There are also quite a few resources in the Google Arts & Culture app, including virtual room tours of the museum.
1. Uffizi Gallery, Florence
One of the best art museums in the world, the Uffizi Gallery has an incredible collection of works from the Italian Renaissance period. Located in the centre of Florence, the Uffizi complex has been open to visitors since the 16th century.
Designed in 1560 by Giorgio Vasari, it features a top floor gallery that was intended to display the artworks of the Medici family. Over the years, it grew into the world famous collection that we know today.
You can admire several online exhibits such as The Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano, La Primavera by Botticelli and Medusa by Caravaggio. The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli has a timeless appeal.
Here’s a recap of these virtual art museum tours:
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- The Vatican, Rome
- The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
- The Smithsonian, Washington D.C.
- The National Gallery, London
- The Louvre, Paris
- Tate Britain, London
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- National Palace Museum, Taipei City
- National Gallery of the Cayman Islands
- J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- British Museum, London
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
- Belvedere Museum, Vienna
Which of these virtual art tours do you like best? Are there any others that you would recommend?
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