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Check out these virtual tours of museums around the world

Take a trip through some of the world’s greatest collections on these virtual museum and gallery tours

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Written by
Lucy Lovell
&
Time Out editors
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Our much-loved museums and art galleries may be closing their doors due to the current outbreak, but don’t despair. Tech-savvy curators are getting creative with how the public can access their collections, and many are catering to an online audience with insanely good virtual tours.

Top-tier institutions around the world have vast online archives, meaning you can take a digital stroll through art history wearing just your pants (or even less if you really want). From ogling Parisian Impressionist works in the Musée d’Orsay to a lesson in ancient Greece from Athens’ Benaki Museum to a voyeuristic archive of ex-lovers’ relics at the Museum of Broken Relationships, there are some fascinating exhibitions at your fingertips – all of which are free.

So pop the kettle on, settle into the sofa and gear up for some seriously enlightening self-isolation with these museums you can explore from home.

Virtual museum tours around the world

British Museum, London
Photograph: Piotr Wawrzyniuk / Shutterstock.com

British Museum, London

The British Museum is the OG national museum. When it opened in 1759 it was the first of its kind to open to the public in the whole world, and they’re still showing us how it’s done today. The graphics on this tour are crazy; think an intergalactic guitar fretboard. Tap through a musical guide to Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Europe – and play a little tune along the way.

Virtual tour of the British Museum

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Tinnaporn Sathapornnanont / Shutterstock.com

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Thousands visit the Gugg every day just to explore its epic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building, and thanks to this Google Street View tour you can still wander its halls from your couch. Peruse the museum’s most significant offerings of postmodern, conceptual and installation art, then head to the homepage for a bumper database of its entire collection.

Virtual tour of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

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Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Photograph: Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Over in the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum is an oasis of classical Dutch art, Asian artefacts and 17th-century silver and porcelain. The Street View-style tour is fine, but better to stick to the brilliant online exhibitions, like the interactive guide to the master of throwing shade, Rembrandt. You can even get up close and personal with ‘The Night Watch’.

Virtual tour of the Rijksmuseum

Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Photograph: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Fancy a trip to Paris? Oui oui! This grand museum holds the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works in the world, and you can click your way through the very best among them thanks to interactive galleries featuring van Gogh, Cézanne, Degas and more.

Virtual tour of the Musée d’Orsay

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Forty-five seconds. That’s how long you normally have to bathe in the twinkling, reflective abyss of Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinite Mirrored Room’ at the Broad. But now you can spend as much time with its signature piece as you’d like – virtually, at least. As part of its Broad from Home initiative, you can watch a video of Kusama’s artwork set to a spacey soundtrack.

Virtual tour of ‘Infinite Mirrored Room’ at the Broad

Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Photograph: Shutterstock

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 boys 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

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MASP, São Paulo
Photograph: Thiago Leite / Shutterstock.com

MASP, São Paulo

The Museu de Arte de São Paulo has a very particular way of displaying artwork in their galleries: paintings are hung on crystal easels that make them look like they’re floating mid-air. Check it out on their virtual gallery, which also features online exhibits of art from Brazil and beyond.

Virtual tour of MASP

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Picasso Museum, Barcelona
Photograph: csp / Shutterstock.com

Picasso Museum, Barcelona

As well as a vast online catalogue 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 tour of Picasso Museum

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National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons / AgnosticPreachersKid

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

The National Gallery has 42,462 items on its Google Arts & Culture site that you can browse directly or check out under headings such as Renaissance, Engravings, etc. Want more? The museum’s homepage brings together all of its copious holdings, along with slideshows of current exhibitions like ‘Degas at the Opera’.

Virtual tour of the National Gallery of Art

Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Photograph: Wing1990hk / Wikimedia Commons

Hong Kong Heritage Museum

The multidisciplinary Heritage Museum is a rich seam of everything from Chinese fine art dating back to the Qing dynasty to cutting-edge Hong Kong contemporary art. The online collection, hosted on Google Arts & Culture, is particularly strong on design, photography, ceramics and sculpture from the past century.

Virtual tour of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum

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Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
Photograph: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid

Head to the Thyssen-Bornemisza’s website and you can stroll around all of its public galleries. Don’t miss recent hit exhibition ‘Rembrandt and Amsterdam portraiture, 1590-1670’ – an impressive collection of 80 paintings never before seen in Spain. The other institutions that make up Madrid’s ‘Golden Triangle’, the Prado and Reina Sofía, are also offering virtual tours.

Virtual tour of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Art Institute of Chicago
Photograph: Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

You can browse 572 artworks on the Institute’s virtual tour, which includes Edward Hopper’s noirish ode to urban alienation, ‘Nighthawks’. If you’re looking for something more upbeat, there’s also Georges Seurat’s Post-Impressionist masterpiece, ‘A Sunday on La Grande Jatte’.

Virtual tour of the Art Institute of Chicago

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  • Art
  • Art

The lord giveth and he taketh away. At least, that’s what happened when the Andy Warhol retrospective opened at Tate Modern on March 12, before swiftly closing on March 17 thanks to lockdown measures ramping up in London. Well, now the lord giveth back again: the Tate has made a virtual tour of the show available on its YouTube channel and website.

Virtual tour of the Tate Modern

Benaki Museum, Athens
Photograph: Shutterstock

Benaki Museum, Athens

Take a virtual wander through ancient Greece with the Benaki Museum’s 360-degree tour. It’s easy to get lost in their unrivalled collection of artefacts – from ancient fertility statues to gilded Byzantine paintings – with some dating back as far as 6500BC.

Virtual tour of Benaki Museum

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National Palace Museum, Taipei City
Photograph: Shutterstock

National Palace Museum, Taipei City

Go on a treasure hunt in Taiwan’s National Palace Museum, home to a massive collection of Chinese arts and crafts from the neolithic to the modern era. Choose from a selection of guided tours and click on anything that piques your interest as you mooch around.

Virtual tour of National Palace Museum

More museum tours

  • Art
  • Art

It’s good to know that way before everything went crazy, most of London’s museums digitised their collections and even created virtual tours of their spaces. From Tate Modern through to the Natural History Museum, here are our favourite virtual tours of our most beloved London cultural institutions.

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