This Museum's Virtual Offerings Are Just As Good As The Real Thing

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Many people have hit the phase of "quarantine fatigue" and are understandably feeling a bit restless. And though you might not be able to go all the places you'd like to just yet, more and more online forms of entertainment are popping up as a way for you to take a brief escape from your everyday — while still safely sheltering at home. One especially impressive offering? Virtual museum experiences that allow you to explore art, architecture, and historic artifacts in places you've only dreamed of visiting and in ways you probably didn't think were possible.

You've likely been consuming digital content at a rapid rate these days, gobbling up all the movies and TV shows, finally making it through those books everyone's been talking about, and trying every tutorial that makes its way onto your social media feed. That said, a virtual museum trip could be the cultural intake you've been craving. With these institutions closed worldwide, the online offerings have gotten bigger and better. That includes giving you a 360 degree peek inside (thanks to Google Art & Culture), access to interviews with curators and other experts, and extended access to permanent collections.

Because so many museums are getting in on the virtual action, there's a good chance your favorites — or the ones on your bucket list — have come up with creative ways for you to connect with them, so be sure to check out their websites and Instagram feeds to see what your options are. But if you need a good place to start, try the 10 destinations ahead for memorable digital dates or just a bit of solo self-care and much needed inspiration.


Aside from getting an in-depth look at the architectural history behind the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structure, the Guggenheim allows you to browse seminal works from the likes of Marc Chagall, Vassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, and more, plus you can check out the "street view" function on Google to get 360 access inside.

Musée d'Orsay

Google Arts & Culture's immersive tour of the Parisian museum gets you peek at works by Vincent Van Gough, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Paul Cézanne, and Eduard Manet, among others.

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

The Santa Fe-based museum's "O'Keeffe From Anywhere" options allow you to tour her homes, dive into the collections, learn more about the artist, and more.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met's virtual events include live classical music concerts and conversations on pieces/artists in the permanent collection, but you can also take advantage of the Met 360 Project where you can (virtually) float through the Great Hall, the Cloisters, the courtyard, and more of the museum's stunning spaces.

The Broad

"The Broad From Home" program includes digital chats and other forms of art-inspired interactive content that changes weekly (you can sign up to get notified of the latest), but potentially the most unique offering from the contemporary museum is its Infinite Drone series, which gives you a look inside Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room set to electronic and ambient music.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

With the help of Google's 360 views, you can get a closer look at the museum's notorious Impressionist and Egyptian art collections, or check the website to browse exhibitions, listen to artist interviews, and access YouTube videos that offer even more kinds of related content.

Art Institute of Chicago

Between the 360 views and the access to select pieces, you can check out pivotal works, including Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" and George Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte."

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

If it's ancient artifacts you're looking for, the virtual tours of this institution should satisfy.

National Gallery of Art

Choose from virtual exhibitions (Degas at the Opera, Raphael and His Circle) and explore collection highlights — from Leonardo da Vinci to Diane Arbus.

Vatican Museum

Get a 360 view of this architectural masterpiece — including the Sistine Chapel — from the comfort of your own couch.

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