In light of Coronavirus, almost all galleries, museums, theatres and opera houses have had to temporarily close their doors. Thankfully, teams at many of these cultural centres have moved their exhibits and performances online, meaning you can view them from your home.
These virtual tours and exhibitions are a great way of keeping amused and learning without having to leave the house. Here, Age Space will guide you through the best of the online culture that is currently out there, from some of the most historic sites in Europe.
- Best Virtual Art Gallery Tours
- Best Virtual Museum Tours Online
- Free Online Productions from Theatres & Opera Houses
Best Virtual Art Gallery Tours
The Louvre, Paris
The Louvre is the largest art gallery in the world. There are almost 40,000 objects and paintings across its many exhibitions, including the famous Mona Lisa. On the Louvre’s website there are three great virtual tours, including of their Egyptian Antiquities. You can also browse and learn more about their collection of masterpieces.
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery, in London, has some fantastic virtual tours. There are tours of the Central Hall and Sainsbury Wing, which let you view the gallery’s main rooms and click on the paintings that interest you to see them larger. There is also a Google virtual tour of the National Gallery – this one is a bit more difficult to use, but once you get the hang of it you can see rooms 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, and the Central Hall in great quality.
Royal Academy of Arts, London
You can still enjoy what the Royal Academy has to offer while its closed thanks to their virtual gallery tours and online exhibitions. There is an excellent 20-minute virtual tour of their new gallery showcasing the work of Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert. As their exhibition ‘Gauguin and the Impressionists’ was unable to launch at the end of March they have also uploaded interesting and accessible 60 second introductions to some of the best pieces.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous painters to have ever lived. Usually, to see the largest collection of his works, you would have to travel to Amsterdam.. but no longer thanks to this virtual gallery! On the van Gogh Museum website you can see all of his paintings in great quality, as well as his contemporaries’ – with detailed information about everything on show.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is home to Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to the present day. They have a series of online exhibits as part of the virtual gallery on their website showcasing some of the most interesting and famous paintings in their collection. We would highly recommend these online exhibitions to art-lovers, as they go in to great detail about the featured works, including The Milkmaid and The Love Letter.
Best Virtual Museum Tours Online
British Museum, London
The British Museum has launched its virtual ‘Museum of the World’. It is a beautiful website, which lets you choose the type of history you are interested in and select artefacts from different continents and time periods to learn more about. It has never been so easy to learn from your sofa!
Natural History Museum, London
The Natural History Museum have put together some excellent online exhibits using their unique collections and teams of world-leading scientists. These exhibits range from a history of paleontology to an exploration of butterflies, to revealing the lives of ancient Britons. You can also ‘walk through’ the museum using the Google Virtual Tour (where you can see Dippy in the great hall, even though he is no longer really there!)
Vatican Museums, Rome
Ever dreamed of visiting the Sistine Chapel? The team at the Vatican Museums have put together fantastic 360-degree virtual tours of their many chapels, galleries and archaeological areas. Marvel at the breathtaking interiors of these historic buildings and the paintings of Michelangelo.
National Football Museum, Manchester
England’s National Football Museum, which moved to its new home in Manchester in 2012, has a range of exhibitions about football through the ages. You don’t have to travel to Manchester, however, to have a virtual tour of the museum. You can view their best online exhibitions on your computer or phone, including a reflection on the 1966 World Cup and stories of players and fans during World War I.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The ‘From the Collection’ series on the V&A website boasts an impressive range of the museum’s varied collections. You can find long-reads, short-reads, photos and videos looking at fashion, architecture, opera and more. The V&A have also partnered with Google Arts and Culture to offer a beautiful and immersive online exhibition on India Textiles: Nature & Making.
Free Online Productions from Theatres & Opera Houses
National Theatre, London
The National Theatre has announced that they will be streaming a free play every Thursday at at 7PM. They have so far announced that they will be showing ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’, ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Twelfth Night’ in the coming weeks. All you will need to do is visit the National Theatre Youtube channel, where you will be able to view the plays ‘live’ on the Thursday, or at anytime in the week that follows. You can find out more on the National Theatre at Home website.
Shakespeare’s Globe, London
Shakespeare’s Globe offer a digital-on-demand service through the Globe Player. There is lots of good free content, including a virtual tour of the historic Globe theatre itself. Although most of the full plays available have to be paid for, they will be rotating 6 full-length Globe productions to watch for free from the 6th of April onwards! If music be the food of love, log on(?).
Royal Opera House, London
While the Royal Opera House is closed they have launched #OurHouseToYourHouse, a schedule of free productions that you can watch from home. You can look on the Royal Opera House Youtube channel to find their past and upcoming ballets and operas, including Peter and the Wolf and the The Winter’s Tale, coming in May.