Stuck on the couch, but yearning for some culture? Nothing beats soaking in the splendor of the world’s top museums in person, but virtual museum tours offer an incredible opportunity to explore beyond your own four walls.
Read on to discover our list of 15 online collections. Whether you’re a fan of the masters or prefer contemporary work by hip creatives, these online galleries have something for everyone.
1. Immerse yourself in The Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is home to pieces from the modern day to 5,000 years ago. You can see artworks by Dutch master Vermeer, statues from ancient Egypt, and ball gowns created by Christian Dior. Tour its collections that are located in three venues in NYC: namely Fifth Avenue, Breuer, and Cloisters on this virtual museum tour.
2. See the best of British
London’s world-famous British Museum houses over 8,000,000 artifacts. And half of these can be seen in their online collection. Ancient history lovers can admire the Roman, Greek, Middle Eastern, and Egyptian collections. Interested in cultures from further afield? Take a look at the collections from Africa, Mexico, and India. The jade pieces are particularly stunning.
3. Visit the Vatican
One of Rome’s must-sees is Vatican City, the home to the Pope and famous museums. While there’s nothing quite like seeing it in person, the virtual collection is impressive in its own right. Take a virtual tour and see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in high resolution.
4. Learn about the Louvre
Attracting over 10 million visitors per year, the Louvre Museum in Paris is the world’s largest art museum. Thanks to its virtual museum tour, you can explore the medieval moat underneath the building, its incredible Egyptian collection, and the Galerie d’Apollon. This ornate, gilded gallery inspired the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.
5. Fascinate your family
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is the perfect place for families to explore the world of art. If you’re stuck indoors, plan a “day at the museum” without leaving the house. Head to the virtual collection and listen to a range of lectures, browse special exhibitions, and access the collections. The interactive kids’ sections are perfect for rainy days for all ages!
6. Marvel at masterpieces in Milan
Home to some of Italy’s most impressive art collections, the Pinacoteca di Brera, is located in the fashion capital of Milan. Renaissance art is the main focus of the gallery, and you’ll see works by Caravaggio, Tintoretto, and Bellini in the online collection. The gallery’s most famous artwork, “The Kiss” by Francesco Hayez, is more recent and was painted in 1859.
7. Wonder at the world in Washington
Snakes in bottles? Life-size dinosaur skeletons? A whale replica swimming in the air? Mummies from ancient Egypt? All of these incredible museum pieces can be seen on a virtual museum tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
8. Embrace your inner Indiana Jones
Budding archaeologists, both young and old, will find the collection of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens fascinating. It houses over 11,000 pieces and is the largest museum in Greece. The sculpture collections are particularly interesting, as they range from 700 B.C. to the 5th century A.D.
9. Reach out to the Renaissance
Home to famous Renaissance masterpieces, the Uffizi Gallery in the golden city of Florence will delight on many levels. The gallery has collected its major works in the form of stories, so you can choose a theme that interests you. Botticelli’s famous works “Spring” and “The Birth of Venus” come alive with clear and fascinating descriptions.
10. Pop over to the Prado
With over 5,000 pieces in its online collection, the Prado Museum in Madrid will keep you busy for days. The collection has an excellent search function, so you can focus on what really interests you. See the works by your favorite artist, choose a theme, or opt for a specific technique, or medium. Highlights are works by Spanish artists Velazquez, El Greco, and Goya. The collection also features some iconic Flemish and Dutch pieces, most notably Hieronymous Bosch’s infamous “Garden of Earthly Delights.”
11. Soak up culture from St. Petersburg
You can boast and say you’ve been to the second-largest art museum in the world, after virtually visiting the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg. View the massive collection, which spans from ancient Egypt and Rome to the Dutch Golden Age and includes Russian works of art. Don’t forget to marvel at the jewelry collection.
12. Be awed by the ancients
The Pergamon Museum in Berlin is home to impressive monuments from the ancient Near Eastern world. The Ishtar Gate was built in 575 B.C. and its reproduction rises 46 feet high. The museum’s other famous monument, the Market Gate of Miletus stands 52 feet tall. Best of all, visitors to the online collection can still see the Pergamon Altar, which is currently closed for renovations until 2024.
13. Stop and smell Van Gogh’s flowers
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has the biggest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s works in the world. This Dutch painter is famous for his post-impressionist works. Take a virtual tour of the museum’s galleries and explore over 150 of his paintings, including “Irises”, “Sunflowers”, and “Almond Blossom.”
14. See São Paulo’s art selection
The São Paulo Museum of Art, also known as the MASP, houses the biggest collection of European art in South America. Brazilian art also features, with a special exhibition on the country’s art until 1900. The museum itself is a well-known modern architectural feature in the São Paulo cityscape.
15. Get arty in the Big Apple
Famous for its spiral-shaped architecture, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City is a favorite for modern art lovers. The Guggenheim’s online collection boasts over 1,700 artworks. The museum’s focus is on art from the Impressionists to contemporary artists, and highlights include works by Picasso, Kandinsky, and Klee.