With the help of librarians from across the country, we are happy to present this list of museums to our BAPL patrons. Virtual museum tours are a creative field trip idea for students as well as a safe, fun way to engage the entire family. There is also the added bonus of accessibility; you can visit collections you might not have been able to visit otherwise. Museums around the world have made it possible for you to tour these artistic treasures as often as you like from the comfort of your home. Here are some favorites…
The Albertina. This museum in the heart of Vienna, Austria, allows you to view collections by medium, such as chalk, pen, and watercolor. Taking the museum tour allows you to explore the building and view the gorgeously decorated rooms, including statues of Greek gods and more. The tours are free, and there are also virtual art workshops for children for an additional charge.
The Benaki Museum. Specializing in Greek art from prehistoric to times, this Athens museum is a delight to browse. An interactive map allows viewers to navigate from room to room, and also take advantage of some exhibits that have an audio component. If you’re just going to take a look around, that is easily achieved. If you’d like to delve a little deeper into the collection, the audio makes that easy and informative.
National Museum of Scotland. This museum, based in Edinburgh, specializes in Scottish antiquities, culture and history. The digital tour takes a little bit of trial and error to navigate, but thanks to Google’s Arts & Culture, they are able to spotlight noteworthy collections as well as offering virtual tours of the building. We particularly enjoyed the Textile and Early Silver exhibits.
National Museum of Anthropology. Collections in this Mexico City-based museum are rich in archaeological and anthropological history; we wanted the museum first and went back to learn about each piece individually. A creative feature is the “View in Street View” option, which takes you directly from an artifact’s description to a virtual tour of where it is housed in the museum.
Tokyo National Museum. Discover paintings, sculptures, textiles, clay, and ceramics at this renowned art museum, which allows you to wander the rooms as if you were there. As you browse the halls, you can select individual items for an up-close look and more information about specific items. We especially enjoyed the clay collection in this family-friendly museum.
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS TO EXPLORE
National Aquarium. Baltimore is known for its renowned aquarium, and now you can watch jellyfish, blacktip reef sharks, and coral reef firsthand thanks to three livestreams. While the livestreams are only available during business hours, views can watch pre-recorded segments at their own convenience during off hours. For similar exhibits, visit our article on watching and interacting with animals online.
The Exploratorium. Children interested in science, technology, and the arts will delight in the interactive experiences offer by the San Francisco-based museum. Videos on cells as well as soap film painting are a highlight. The museum helpfully includes a comprehensive list of past videos, allowing for browsing at one’s own pace.
Frida Kahlo Museum. With the extensive online collections of this Mexico City museum, you can learn more about the list of the influential artist and her legacy. Browsing items in each part of the collection, from oil painting to paper, allows for a better understanding of Kahlo’s appreciation for the genre of photography.
The Rijksmuseum. The extensive virtual collections of this Amsterdam-based museum spotlight Dutch history and culture throughout the centuries. In addition to collections of engraving and etchings, viewers can explore each floor of the museum firsthand, thanks to the Museum Views feature.
Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Teenagers and adults looking to strengthen their knowledge of social justice will find much to explore in this museum, located at Ferris State University. With options for a virtual tour and plenty of historical artifacts to browse, this is a welcome resource for students and educators.