As a result of lockdown, a number of galleries, museums and attractions around the UK and the world have taken many of their exhibitions, shows and displays online. Here’s a list of what we think is well worth exploring virtually from the comfort of your sofa.
You no longer have to head to Paris to appreciate the majesty of the Louvre, one of the world’s most acclaimed and respected museums. With an array of virtual tours, covering topics from the connection between power and art, how artists represent movement in their work, how numerous filmmakers have taken ancient myths and legends and adapted them for modern audiences, and also a
look at the history of the Louvre itself, which was originally designed to be a fortress, this is truly something special.
If you’ve ever been to Rome and decided to take a trip to Vatican City and the iconic St. Peter’s Basilica then you’ll be very aware that, more often than not, such a visit requires hour upon hour of standing in queues. Now, with the Vatican’s extensive selection of virtual tours, such queuing is no longer necessary. Tour the Sistine Chapel, home to arguably the most famous artwork ever created, and also the Profane Museum, a selection of artefacts and items regarded as being ‘overtly pagan’ by the Catholic Church.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery was one of the first institutions to embrace the “new normal”. Virtual tours were on offer throughout 2020, and due to their success, more and more exhibits continue to be added. You are able to enjoy all of the tours through either your laptop, phone or tablet. However, if you want a more immersive experience, some of the tours are even available in virtual reality (VR), allowing you to feel as though you are taking a solitary meander through one of the world’s most popular museums.
The National Portrait Gallery
Though not as extensive as some of the other virtual tours mentioned here, the National Portrait Gallery’s offering is still absolutely worth giving a go. There are two tours available here – one allows the viewer to view every exhibit in each room but from a static position, while the other allows for an incredibly detailed and comprehensive tour of its ‘Mirror Mirror’ exhibit, which explores an array of self-portraits created by some of the world’s most revered female artists.
The Courtauld was actually somewhat ahead of the game in terms of going online, largely due to the fact that since 2018 it has been completely closed for renovations. The virtual tours have been in place here for two years and, quite frankly, they’re absolutely brilliant. If you want to get up close and (virtually) personal with works by Rubens, Manet and the exemplary Vincent van Gogh, then this is absolutely for you.
The Whitney Museum of American Art
Of course, virtual visiting means that we are by no means limited by geography, so why not take a trip over the pond and take in one of New York’s most remarkable museums? The Whitney’s virtual offering is slightly different to those mentioned so far – the focus is on audio, rather than visual, with an array of exclusive interviews from artists and curators alike, enabling “visitors” to accrue a greater level of detail about some of the exhibits on display.
The Museum of Modern Art
MoMA’s online offering is perhaps the classiest and most impressive of the lot. MoMA, always wanting to do things a little differently, has created a number of virtual tours led by some of the world’s most famous faces – think Steve Martin, John Waters and Janna Levin. Providing a level of detail and understanding not even available to the museum’s physical visitors, this is one virtual tour that you absolutely do not want to miss out on.
Andy Warhol at the TATE
If you’re a fan of Warhol, or just fancy learning a bit more about his works, then this seven-minute tour should be added straight to your watchlist. The video tour, led by two of the museum’s curators, looks at some of Warhol’s most exciting and influential pieces and also explores his vision, life and enduring genius.
Romeo and Juliet
at Shakespeare’s Globe
If theatre is more your thing, then why not take in this 90-minute version of William Shakespeare’s most celebrated work, Romeo and Juliet? Available online since the end of September 2020, it has already been viewed by almost 200,000 people.
Edward Hopper at Fondation Beyeler
Switzerland will, more than likely, not be the first place you consider when thinking about some of the world’s most exciting and influential museums. However, if you’re a fan of American artist Edward Hopper, then you really need to seriously contemplate giving this virtual tour a go – it will only take you around ten minutes to watch the videos.
Frozen: The Stage Musical
Looking for a way to keep young children – or Disney aficionados – happy? This stage version of Frozen, performed originally on a Disney Cruise, is a fantastic way to spend an hour. It has been viewed online almost two million times since it was uploaded at the start of November in 2020.