Last week we showed you a selection of online museum offers in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. This time we take a look at museums outside the German-speaking world and their digital presence. With COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty about traveling again, it could be a while before we able to visit these museums in person. However, digital exhibitions are not only an alternative, but an addition to the traditional museum visit.
British Museum (London)
The British Museum in London offers a vast amount of possibilities to experience art online. There are several digital galleries with high-resolution pictures, home-learning materials for children and teens, podcasts, audio introductions from curators, an interesting YouTube channel, and even online events.
Together with Google, they created the Museum of the World, an interactive timeline that spans continents, cultures, and human history told through objects in the museum’s collection.
Museo del Prado (Madrid)
The Museo del Prado offers a variety of digital content, but there are two special offers of particular interest. The interactive story “200 and +” turns the museum into a video game where you have to look for paintings by women to complete the collection. It starts a bit slow but turns out to be both entertaining and educational.
Our highlight was the “scrollytelling” which dives into the fantastical paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. While scrolling down, the clickable images provide explanations on the figures and symbolism as well as explain how and why Bosch painted in a certain way.
The Uffizi in Florence offers its collection in “Hypervisions,” online exhibitions with high-resolution pictures. It’s incredible how far you can zoom in to see the minute details in the paintings and sculptures, much closer than you could get in real life. There is also a variety of interesting videos, fascinating background information about conservation, performances, looks behind the scenes, an online visit to its storage rooms, and much more. Some are only available in Italian, but it’s worth browsing through this massive range of offers.
The highlight of the digital content on the the Louvre’s website is the VR app for La Gioconda “Mona Lisa Beyond the Glass.” It gives an amazing insight into the creation and background story of the world’s most famous painting. But beware: the app size is huge! If you want a sneak peek into the making of, we recommend this video.
Art Institute (Chicago)
The Art Institute of Chicago not only offers virtual tours but many other digital activities for your days at home. Whether you want to attend virtual events, listen to audio guides, or look for ideas on how to get creative, you’ll definitely find something that suits you!
Australian Museum (Sydney)
Australia’s oldest museum opened its digital doors in April 2020. Under the name “AM Inside Out,” they offer various educational and entertaining resources. There’s the usual content from virtual tours to podcasts, but they also offer digital, creepy puzzles – why not put together the head of a viperfish or the x-ray of a stingray? Or browse their collection of activities for kids at home – we bet a lot of adults will enjoy building a frog-friendly habitat in their backyard too!
National Museum Korea (Seoul)
Take a virtual trip to Korea’s National Museum – they have digitized eight exhibitions from recent years, so you can virtually stroll through the rooms and look at the objects on display. The topics range from the Etruscans, to Kazakhstan, to 100 years of design, and they have several videos you can watch to dive deeper into your preferred exhibition.
Museum of Other Realities
The challenges of digitalization are not a problem for this museum: the MOR is not located anywhere in the world, but everywhere – on the internet. They specialize in a new art form called VR art. Several artists working present their take on a modern way of experiencing art and are creating an interactive, digital space. The exhibitions require a VR headset and a compatible PC.
Google Earth and Google Arts & Culture
While not technically museums but definitely online and international, Google Earth and Google Arts & Culture both offer possibilities to discover art digitally. Many museums have been cooperating with Google to have their artworks digitized, giving you access to a wide range of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and installations in high resolution. We won’t argue that this is better than visiting in person, but there’s great advantage in being able to ‘’visit’’ museums in Japan, Brazil, and the USA in only a few hours, seeing great artworks and zooming in to see every brushstroke, and we love the many features and interactive games. Because we just can’t list all the great online exhibitions and features here, we recommend dwelling a bit: browse through the collections and dream of the time when travel and museum visits are possible again. Here is a list of all museums cooperating with Google Arts & Culture.
There would be a lot more museums and initiatives to write about, but it would be endless. Take your time, do some research on your own, and be amazed by the variety of possibilities out there. Oh, and there are also our media guides on www.culturalplaces.com! Travel virtually to Vienna, Zagreb, Athens, Istanbul, Hong Kong, or Indonesia and enjoy art, culture, and history from home.
We hope you’ve found some inspiration to spend your time during lockdowns and travel restrictions. Have fun and stay safe!