Virtual Museums and Art Exhibit Resources
The Louvre: You don’t have to book a ticket to Paris to check out some of the famous pieces in the world’s largest art museum. The Louvre has free online tours of three famous exhibits, including Egyptian Antiquities.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: The works of Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Jeff Koons, and Franz Marc are just some of the 625 artists whose work are a part of the Guggenheim’s Collection Online.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Move at your own pace through the 360-degree room-by-room tour of every exhibit in the museum.
Van Gogh Museum: You can get up close and personal with the impressionist painter’s most famous work thanks to Google Arts & Culture.
Getty Museum: Los Angeles’s premiere gallery has two virtual tours, including “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry,” which is a closer look at food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The Vatican Museum: The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Raphael’s Room, are just some of the sites you can see on the Vatican’s virtual tour.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: Madrid’s must-see art museum has the works of some of the continent’s most celebrated artists like Rembrandt and Dali available online.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: Six virtual exhibits are available online from this museum named for the “Mother of American modernism.”
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City: Dive into the pre-Hispanic history of Mexico with 23 exhibit rooms full of Mayan artifacts.
British Museum, London: The Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies are just a couple of things that you’re able to see on a virtual tour of the museum.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Though the Met Gala was cancelled this year, you can still have a peak at the The Costume Institute Conversation Lab, which is one of the institution’s 26 online exhibits.
High Museum of Art, Atlanta: This museum’s popular online exhibits include “Civil Rights Photography” — photos that capture moments of social protest like the Freedom Rides and Rosa Park’s arrest.
Detroit Institute of Arts: Mexican art icon Frida Kahlo is the focal point of two of the four available online exhibits.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: The Golden Age of Dutch art is highlighted in this museum which includes the work of Vermeer and Rembrandt.
National Museum of the United States Air Force: You can’t take a ride in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential airplane, but you can check it out, in addition to other military weapons and aircraft, online in the Air Force’s official museum.
MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art): New York’s extensive collection is available for view online.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: The 16 virtual exhibits include a special section on 21st Century Designer Fashion.
The Musee d’Orsay – The Musee d’Orsay, which displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914.
The National Gallery of Art – The nation’s museum – preserves, collects, exhibits, and fosters an understanding of works of art.
The Brant Foundation – Art Activities
The National History Museum of Utah – Designed with middle-schoolers in mind, the free daily classes are taught by museum educators, and cover such cool subjects as dinosaurs and ancient forests. The classes run each weekday at 9:30 am MDT, but if you can’t make it to the live classes, they’re all archived online for viewing anytime.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the country — and an absolute must-see on the city’s cultural circuit. A major bonus: The institution hosts much of its stellar collection online. Search by artist to find masterworks from Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and more, or search by collector to learn which types of works some of the museum’s benefactors favored. For a real highlight, go on an in-depth, guided tour of the attraction’s entire collection of South Asian Art, with detailed looks at the museum’s epic Pillared Temple Hall as well as guided looks at architecture, paint and more.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens – Take in artist Isaiah Zagar’s mosaicked masterpiece on South Street online via a virtual 360-degree tour. The attraction’s captivating tiled passages — weaving both over- and underground — inspire creativity from every angle. Downloadable activity pages invite virtual visitors to make a mosaic at home, complete a Magic Gardens maze and color some cool illustrations.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts – Take to the internet to peruse the stunning and varied collection of historic, modern and contemporary American art that lives at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), and see works by masters like Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Alice Neel, Andy Warhol, and Kehinde Wiley. PAFA’s YouTube channel features a wealth of videos — past artist talks, discussions with curators and lectures — for your viewing pleasure as well, and don’t miss the live online events and conversations. There’s a 360-degree virtual tour of the Historic Landmark Building and Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building available online, too.
PENN Museum – Set aside time to travel through time — thousands of years, give or take — in the digital archives of the Penn Museum, home to a million objects and artifacts from around the globe. Start your online exploration with the anthropology and archeology museum’s collection highlights, like the 25,000-pound, 3,000-year-old Sphinx of Ramses. Virtual visitors can also take a close look at pieces from Mexico, Central America, Africa and other parts of the world as they learn about ancient civilizations, economies and colonization and watch fascinating videos that include archival footage of early 20th-century native life in the Phillippines and the excavation of royal tombs in southern Iraq.
The National Museum of American Jewish History posts all its videos to its Facebook page, including a speech by 2019 exhibit muse Ruth Bader Ginsburg, interactive experiences from the Jewish New Media Festival and thought-provoking discussions on historical and current topics like anti-Semitism.
National Marian Anderson Museum – On Easter Sunday in April 1939, Marian Anderson — truly one of the world’s greatest contraltos — overcame racial barriers to give a command performance at the Lincoln Memorial. Learn more about the great singer’s history and home on the museum’s website anytime and be sure to watch the video archive of live concerts in the Performance Corner.
The National Constitution Center – dedicated to the four most powerful pages in America’s history — hosts weekly podcast episodes and videos that visitors can enjoy from anywhere. Discussions and lessons explore important historical moments like women’s suffrage and the Vietnam War, as well as current U.S. Supreme Court cases — all through the lens of the United States Constitution. Additionally, the Interactive Constitution space offers insight from constitutional experts and a deep-dive into drafts of the historical document.
Take a virtual tour of the Museum of the American Revolution’s 118,000-square-foot attraction in Old City for an up-close look at museum highlights like George Washington’s Headquarters Tent, the replica Boston Liberty Tree and nearly 500 artifacts from the earliest days of America’s independence. Educators and caregivers can also download the Beyond the Battlefield classroom kit for young students who want a virtual field trip with Lauren Tarshis, author of the children’s novel series I Survived…
Independence Seaport Museum Philadelphia’s maritime heritage museum has an expansive digital collection, including nearly 700 maps and charts documenting waterway changes and the city’s contribution to naval history, as well as other works and artifacts that explore the Delaware River’s role in the African American journey through the Middle Passage, enslavement, emancipation, Jim Crow and the civil rights movement.
Historic Germantown Sites – Several of the historical sites in Germantown offer online resources and video experiences for visitors to enjoy from home. Cliveden’s activity sheets — coloring, word searches, crossword puzzles and more — encourage creativity while teaching kids about the American Revolution; Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion’s online resources dive into topics like the Emancipation Proclamation and how to write messages in Morse code; and Stenton’s History Hunters virtual classroom is full of engaging and educational videos and lessons about Pennsylvania history.
The Franklin Institute – Want to see some club moss get set on fire? Science fans — as well as fans of (always safe!) explosions — have lots of virtual options to enjoy courtesy of one of the oldest and most beloved science institutions in the country. The Franklin Institute’s #SparkOfScience series highlights fascinating experiments like the ones conducted for visitors at the attraction, while interactive activities explore the depths of the human mind. And always be on the lookout for insightful videos and Q&As with Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts and Chief Bioscientist Dr. Jayatri Das on the museum’s social channels.
The Fabric Workshop and Museum – The only museum of its kind in the world, this contemporary art institution is dedicated to the presentation and creation of innovative art. Explore its ambitious permanent collection of sculptures, drawings, paintings and hand screen-printed fabric textiles online, then dive into the work of the museum’s current and former artists-in-residence.
The Clay Studio – It’s easy to experience Old City’s ceramic sanctuary online, thanks to a robust digital catalogue of its permanent collection highlighting more than 700 clay objects. Pottery lovers can also find a series of how-to clay tutorial videos, as well as live-streaming conversations with education assistant Shannon Jones (every Friday at 2 p.m.) on The Clay Studio’s YouTube channel.
Bucks County Cultural Sites – Take 3D tours of more than 30 cultural and historical sites throughout Bucks County, all accessible through Visit Bucks County’s website. Step inside the Michener Art Museum to view an incredible collection of works by Pennsylvania impressionist painters and stroll the trails of Core Creek Park to explore more of what the county has to offer. One not-to-miss highlight: the architecturally fascinating Fonthill Castle, home to Gothic doorways, 32 sudden stairways, dead ends and 44 rooms — each in a different shape.
The Barnes Foundation – The endlessly impressive permanent collection at the Barnes Foundation — featuring 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes and 59 Matisses, along with works by Manet, Degas, Seurat, Prendergrast, Titian and Picasso — is all available online. Website visitors can sort by colors, lines, light and more (an homage to Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ mission to connect art and intellectual stimulation), and test out a neat slider tool that shows visually similar and surprising works side by side. Pro tip: Don’t miss the African ceremonial masks, part of Barnes’ private collection curated in the early 1920s.
American Swedish Historical Museum – Get closer than ever to the colorful murals at the American Swedish Historical Museum with the attraction’s virtual guide. Start with the ceiling mural created by portraitist Christian von Schneidau before diving into 140 smaller murals representing Swedish and Swedish-American history. The museum tells the story of the New Sweden colonists who settled the Greater Philadelphia area in the mid-1600s even before William Penn arrived. “The American Swedish Historical Museum offers an assortment of children and family focused activities through the year. Our Toddler Time is held the third Tuesday of each month to help enhance Pre-K early learning skills. ASHM has transitioned the program to online videos and activity resources that can be found on the American Swedish Historical Museum Facebook page and website https://www. americanswedish.org/education/ families”
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University – Learn more about burrowing owls, follow along as scientists discover a new species of fish and take a tour of Philadelphia’s natural history museum through The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University’s Google Arts & Culture site. The digital destination features a handful of storybook-like experiences, as well as close-up photos and descriptions of many of the species and fossils featured in the attraction’s Center City building. The collection of diatom photos gives virtual visitors a whole new appreciation for algae. (No small task!)
The Brooklyn Museum – Virtual First Saturday
Intrepid Museum – Virtual Astronomy Live
Watercolor Studio 42: This a weekly hour long watercolor instructional program hosted by Ben Macomber an instructor at Rhode Island School of Design. We call him the “Bob Ross” of Attleboro. There are 200+ episodes and each episode receives thousands of view.
National Geographic – Inspiring Family Exploration
Many resources sourced from:
Bourque, K. (2020, April 3). Famous Museums and Attractions Like the Louvre Are Offering Free Virtual Tours. Retrieved from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/a31784720/best-virtual-tours/
How to Virtually Explore Top Philadelphia Attractions. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.visitphilly.com/articles/philadelphia/virtually-explore-top-philadelphia-attractions/#the-academy-of-natural-sciences-of-drexel-university