Social distancing, though effective in limiting the spread of contagions, can be an often boring and tedious time. Just when we’ve gotten over the cabin fever of winter, we’re stuck inside once more for the protection of public health. Thankfully, in our internet world, there are lots of ways to get out and see things without leaving the comfort of your bedroom. Museums, aquariums and other attractions from around the world have free, online features that allow you to view their exhibits virtually.
Even after we get out of this mess, these virtual tours are still useful for those of us that do not have time time, opportunity or money to travel the world. Can’t get off of work to take a trip to Greece? Tour the Parthenon online. Can’t afford tickets to Mexico City? View their plethora of cultural museums online.
So, grab your laptop and check out eight of my personal favorites.
Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, NY
While you can’t pose on the Met steps a la Gossip Girl through the museum’s virtual features, you can still check out some of their breathtaking collections. Through their Met 360° Project, you can view almost every aspect of some of their most famous exhibits. Also, if you didn’t get my Gossip Girl reference, binging the show on Netflix could be another way to spend your time. View the Met’s collections at www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features.
National Women’s History Museum – Alexandria, VA
Celebrate what’s left of Women’s History Month and take a virtual step into this museum that honors all things feminine. They’ve got virtual exhibits on female athletes, women in STEM, suffragettes and more. Click through their collections at www.womenshistory.org/exhibits.
National Museum of Anthropology – Mexico City, Mexico
Take a step into Latin America’s indiginous history with this museum’s digital exhibit via Google Arts and Culture. Take a virtual stroll through their physical halls, where the images are clear enough to even read the signs on the walls. You can also click on individual artifacts, and the page will take you to their exact location within the museum. Check it out at www.artsandculture.google.com/partner/museo-nacional-de-antropologia-mexico.
Johnson Space Center – Houston, TX
Virtually walk through NASA’s Houston Space Center, all through the comfort of your phone! With an audio-guided tour, you can get up close and personal with their collections. Step into the past with their Space Race exhibits, or into the future with their Mission Mars one. Take a look for yourself by downloading the Space Center Houston app on the App Store or Google Play.
The Dalí Museum – St. Petersburg, FL
Step into the museum of one of the most eclectic artists of the twentieth century. Boasting one of the largest collections of artwork by Salvador Dalí, the museum’s virtual tour gives you an intimate view of some of Dalí’s most impressive pieces, and an outside view of the incredible building they are housed in. Check them out by visiting www.thedali.org/virtual-tour.
The Acropolis – Athens, Greece
If you obsessed over the Percy Jackson series in your earlier years, then you probably went through an Ancient Greece interest phase. Tour Greece’s Acropolis, Parthenon, Athena Nike monuments and more through their virtual tour site. Take a stroll through one of Greece’s most famous monuments by visiting www.acropolisvirtualtour.gr or download their app.
U.S. National Archives – Washington, D.C.
Google Arts and Culture offers an exclusive look into the nation’s official record keeper. View thousands of historical images and documents, along with their carefully curated online exhibits, such as their current one on Women’s Suffrage and the 19th Amendment. See them at www.artsandculture.google.com/partner/u-s-national-archives.
Van Gogh Museum — Amsterdam, Netherlands
Housing the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, this museum includes paintings, drawings and letters from the famed artist, perhaps best remembered for cutting off his own ear. See all of these and tour the museum through Google Arts and Culture by visiting www.artsandculture.google.com/partner/van-gogh-museum.
Michigan Tech Archives – Houghton, MI
Did you know that Michigan Tech has its own university archives? Located in the garden level of the library, they house an impressive collection of MTU and Copper Country documents and other artifacts. They offer a great online selection of photos through their Copper Country Historical Images collection, along with some online exhibits curated by archives staff. Visit their site at www.mtu.edu/library/archives.