Virtual Museum Tours You Should Replicate
2020 has been a hard year for museums. The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced closed the doors of many institutions worldwide, and they are struggling to recuperate after the loss of substantial visitor traffic.
It’s time for museums to get creative with how they present their exhibitions. Maintaining visitor and member engagement is crucial, even while physical distancing mandates are keeping museum patrons inside their homes. Many organizations, from science museums to art galleries, are now offering virtual museum tours and exhibits to maintain viewer participation.
Below are listed some of our favorite virtual museum tours that we think everyone should be replicating.
Our 7 Favorite Virtual Museum Tours
The Louvre Museum, Paris France
With virtual tours of this world-famous museum, visitors can skip the lines, avoid the crowds, and have masterworks like the Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s Starry Night all to themselves. The Louvre is one of 2,500 museums worldwide being brought to life with the help of Google Arts and Culture. Viewers can navigate the Parisian museum’s halls, as they might in real life, and “walk” through specially-photographed in-situ exhibitions. Viewers can click on information icons next to works for a closer look at specific pieces of art and cultural material.
The tech giant is making the world’s greatest graffiti art accessible from livingrooms everywhere through their virtual walking tour of global street art. “Exhibitions” are organized geographically, and visitors can travel through using a Google-streetview style mechanism. Each exhibit is equipped with an optional audio commentary feature, and viewers can click around for more information about the artists, location, and work itself. Google has also included video biographies of a number of the featured artists to show street-art making in progress.
The San Diego Zoo, San Diego CA
Families of all shapes and sizes can still enjoy a trip to the zoo during quarantine thanks to the San Diego Zoo’s many live animal cameras. This is a great, tech-minimal way for audiences to engage in real-time with SDZ’s exhibits. Visitors will land on a page showing available cameras, including favorites Elephant and Tiger cams, as well as their brand-new Platypus and Hippo livestreams. Archived footage of SDZ’s recently re-homed pandas is also available.
When Google teams up with NASA, great things happen. Named a Web VR experiment, the surface of one of our closest galactic neighbors can be explored by Earthlings everywhere with the click of a button. Using exclusive Google VR software, scientists and engineers have borrowed 3D maps of the surface of mars, recorded by the Curiosity rover, and turned it into an explorable 360 virtual terrain. Visitors can travel in the track-prints of the rover and learn more about the mission, the red planet, and the rover itself by clicking landmark icons for a self-guided audio tour experience.
Visitors can walk the halls of this infamous monument to Catholic art. Panoramic images of each of the treasure and art filled rooms allow audiences to interact with wall art, historical objects, religious relics, and the grandiose architecture of the building itself. And the most popular room in the building is still available for viewing: audiences enter the Sistine Chapel through the room’s heavy wooden doors and are greeted by Michelangelo’s most popular paintings, from the creation of Adam to the Last Judgement.
This amazing marine institute follows suit with other animal conservation organizations by offering live webcams for many of their exciting underwater exhibits. Visitors can relax to a livestream of yellow jellyfish on a blue background, watch hungry piranhas swim in a terrifying school, or observe the aquarium’s pod of Beluga whales swim in their marine tank. Some of the other popular exhibits available for viewing include the underwater puffin exhibit, the Ocean Voyager tank, and the gator crossing livestream.
The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam Holland
This museum, dedicated to the incredible paintings of the tragic and infamous artist Vincent van Gogh, offers multiple ways to interact with the museum’s extensive collection. The VGM recently partnered with Google, like so many of the other big art museums, to create a virtual 360 walkthrough tour of the building — visitors can follow the maps through each gallery, clicking on information points to learn more about the work and the man who painted it. In addition, the VGM features a series of videos on their youtube channel, through which a solo visit to the museum is simulated, complete with soothing piano music accompaniment. Finally, 360stories offers yet another option for visitors wishing to “walk” through the building itself.
Final Thoughts: Virtual Museum Tours You Should Replicate
Keeping museum-goers engaged is no easy feat, even when there isn’t a global health crisis underway. Museums are getting creative, and finding ways to keep inviting visitors into their exhibits, and yours should too.