Going into a self-quarantine as a preventive measure during the coronavirus outbreak is going to have a great psychological and emotional impact on many people. Although truly necessary at this point, staying home can be incredibly isolating. Beyond having enough food and supplies, it is important to occupy yourself during this period in order to stay sane.
In addition to a lot of Netflix and internet browsing, you can also get a culture fix from the comfort and safety of your home, thanks to a range of virtual museum tours available. While the majority of the museums around the world are temporary closing for visitors, many of them are now focusing on their websites and social media accounts to bring their audience closer to their programs and initiatives.
Stay tuned as we update this article with more content as it comes.
The British Museum’s remarkable collection spans over two million years of human history and culture, including world-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies. You can now find hundreds of artifacts on the museum's virtual tour, from the prehistory to the present, as well as tour the Great Court, known for its glass and steel roof.
Created in partnership with Google Cultural Insitute, the tour offers an interactive experience through time, continents and cultures, featuring some of the most fascinating objects in human history, as well insights from the museum's curators.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Musée du Louvre, the Tuileries Garden and the Cour Carrée remain closed until further notice. However, you can still visit the museum's exhibition rooms and galleries virtually and contemplate the façades of the museum.
You can tour three different rooms - Egyptian Antiquities, featuring collections from the Pharaonic period which are displayed on the east side of the Sully wing, on the ground floor and 1st floor; Remains of the Louvre's Moat, allowing the visitors to walk around the original perimeter moat and view the piers that supported the drawbridge; and Galerie d'Apollon, situated above the Petite Galerie and featuring the ceiling by Le Brun, a homage to the Sun King, Louis XIV, and the central panel Apollo Slaying the Serpent Python by Delacroix.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid remains closed to the public until further notice in the application of the provisions issued by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, coordinated with the Ministry of Health, for the containment of the transmission of the coronavirus (Covid-19).
The museum's current exhibition Rembrandt and the portrait in Amsterdam, 1590-1670, which was supposed to run until May 24th, can now be explored virtually. Dedicated to Rembrandt's facet as a portraitist, it features 80 paintings, 16 engravings and an engraving plate, some never before seen in Europe.
Neue Galerie New York also remains temporarily closed, but the gallery has invited its visitors to stay connected digitally. The gallery offers social media, allowing visitors to learn and explore past and present exhibitions.
Through online content, the visitors can also explore the museum's special exhibition about Dora Kallmus, best known as Madame d'Ora, one of the leading photographic portraitists of the early 20th century. The exhibition will present the different periods of her life, from her early upbringing as the daughter of Jewish intellectuals in Vienna, to her days as a premier society photographer, through her survival during the Holocaust, featuring more than 100 examples of her work.
Uffizi Gallery houses the art collection of one of Florence, Italy’s most famous families, the de'Medicis. The building was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 specifically for Cosimo I de'Medici. Now the visitors can wander its halls from anywhere in the world and discover the masterpieces of their collections and their history, using captivating descriptions and HD pictures.
There is a range of online exhibitions to choose from, from On Being Present: Recovering Blackness in the Uffizi Galleries, an exhibition which is part of the Black History Month Florence program, and In the Light of Angels, a journey through 12 masterpieces of the Uffizi Galleries, between human and divine, to Following in Trajan’s Footsteps, a virtual exhibition on the precious relics and unique items from the reign of Trajan present in the Uffizi collections, and New languages to communicate tradition: Vanished Florence, featuring images of the city in the 18th and 19th centuries, before it became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
An institution dating back almost 200 years, the Museo del Prado in Madrid is often described as a museum of painters not of paintings. Their collection represents artists in a superlative manner, with, for example, the largest holdings of Bosch, Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Velázquez and Goya, some numbering more than 100 works.
Although closed like all the other museums in Italy at the moment, Palazzo Strozzi is finding ways to engage with its audience. Their website is now turning into “a platform of words, images, videos, stories and further reading” on art projects, inspired by an exhibition which was to take place at the museum; Tomás Saraceno. Aria proposed a dialogue about possible presents and futures, about connection and isolation, about participation and mediation.
Right now, there are already three entries (in English and Italian) as part of the In Touch platform, one of them being a video message from Ai Weiwei.
Fondazione Prada, otherwise open to public in Milan and Venice, will move all its activities online during the current health crisis. On their website and social media channels, they will create “a laboratory of ideas”, and they already have a layout planned.
A section such as “Glossary” will explore the Fondazione’s archive, history and identity; “Inner Views” will present the physical exhibition we can no longer visit in person, including K; “Outer Views” will focus on Collezione Prada’s works on loan at international institutions and museums; “Perfect Failures” will stream selected movies starting April 5; “Accademia Aperta” is a video project that retraces the workshops conceived by educators, artists, scientists, movie directors, musicians and architects over the past 5 years; and finally “Readings” will offer editorial content in form of podcasts and narrative texts by figures like Germano Celant, Massimo Cacciari and Alison Gingeras.
Here is a museum with a rich digital offer - The Frick Collection’s website is a marvel.
The first thing to do is certainly the virtual tour of the museum, with an interactive map accompanied by archival photographs and information. Over 20,000 resources can be found in the Digital Archives, including the history of the institution and the studies of art. On their YouTube channel there are hundreds of lectures and exhibition views, and the easiest way to explore their artworks is probably through their app, which also offers audio guides!
In line with the public health emergency recommendations, the Dalí Museums are closed to the public until further notice. However, you can now tour virtually the entire Dalí Theatre Museum, a museum in the artist's hometown, Figueres, Spain that houses the largest collection of his major works in a single location, the core of which was from his personal collection. You can go from room to room, all while learning about major works on view and the history of the venue itself, that was built on the location of the old theatre that was burned during the Spanish Civil War.
In a time when we cannot enjoy the art in the museum, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is bringing the museum directly to living rooms across the world with online initiatives, allowing the public to dive into the collection and explore the stories. You can browse through their YouTube channel to watch short videos of Rijksmuseum curators sharing stories about their favourite works of art; browse online more than 700,000 high-resolution images of its collection; but also take a virtual tour of Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour, home of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, The Jewish Bride, and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, among history’s most celebrated paintings, which re-opens via a new online platform Rijksmuseum Masterpieces Up Close.
Frida Kahlo spent the majority of her life in the villa known as the Casa Azul (Blue House). Today, the house is turned into a museum, featuring the original furniture from when Kahlo lived there, her personal possessions, Mexican folk art, works by Kahlo's husband Diego Rivera and some of her most important works, including Long Live Life, Frida and the Caesarian Operation, and Portrait of My Father, among others. Now, you can take a 360-degree virtual tour of the artist’s former house and garden from your sofa. Titled Appearances Can Be Deceiving, the virtual exhibition features over 300 pieces of Kahlo’s belongings, including her instantly recognisable clothing.