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Virtual Museum Tours: Visit the World’s Greatest Arts Institutions Online

Get your culture fix in the comfort of your own home! Major art museums around the world have partnered with Google Street View and Google Arts and Culture to create virtual tours you can access on your computer or mobile device. Take a digital 360 spin through their galleries, peruse high-res images, and zoom in for more details. In all, Google Arts & Culture has compiled over 500 virtual tours of museums around the world. LA museums, such as LACMA, FIDM Museum and Galleries, and USC Fisher Museum of Art are offering virtual tours as well. HERE are five Los Angeles museums you can visit online now.

To access your virtual tours, simply tap or click on each museum’s name which appears in bold below. 

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Explore The Getty’s massive collection of over 15,000 artworks from the Getty Center and Getty Villa. You can begin by choosing a category, such as Renaissance or photography, or just embark on a journey or discovery randomly. The J. Paul Getty Museum provides a backdrop of dramatic architecture, tranquil gardens, and stunning views of Los Angeles for its art collection. It houses works dating from the 8th through the 21st century, including European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European, American and Asian photographs. The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa in Malibu features Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities presented in a setting modeled after a first-century Roman country house, the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy.

Hollyhock House Virtual Tour

The newly renovated Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, Hollyhock House, was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This virtual tour explores the building’s exterior and interior, with pop up notes and optional audio narration by a docent. The virtual tour was originally developed as a Virtual Accessibility Experience (VAE) to increase access to the monument, and to create immersive and inclusive experiences for visitors of all abilities.

Musée du Louvre, Paris

Formerly a royal palace, the Louvre has embraced the history of France for eight centuries. Intended as a universal museum since its inception in 1793, its collections – among the finest in the world – span several thousands of years and a territory that extends from America to the confines of Asia. Divided among eight departments, these collections feature works admired throughout the globe, including the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo. With nearly ten million visitors in 2012, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum.

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Once a Beaux-Arts railway station on the bank of the Seine, the Musée d’Orsay is now one of the largest art museums in Europe. Take a virtual tour of the impressive Art Nouveau building and admire a vast array of French art from 1848 to 1914, including masterpieces by Monet, Cézanne and Gauguin.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

The unique corkscrew design of New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum allows visitors to journey up its spiraling ramp and view the collection of art in one continuous, unbroken journey. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building is home to a constantly expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary Art.

Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Berlin’s famous cultural hub, Museum Island, is where you’ll find the Pergamon Museum, one of Germany’s largest museums. Explore the ruins of ancient monumental buildings excavated from around the world, such as the Pergamon Altar (where the museum got its name), the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, and the Market Gate of Miletus.

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

The Uffizi Gallery is the legacy of the collection of Florence’s ruling house Medici.The U-shaped building contains works by Renaissance Old Masters such as Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli, and Titian. The building was originally constructed to house the administrative and judiciary offices – uffizi means offices in Italian.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) in the world. The permanent collection includes over 200 paintings by Vincent van Gogh, 500 drawings and more than 750 letters. The museum also presents exhibitions on various subjects from 19th-century art history.

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

Since opening its door in 1969, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) has established itself as a representative institution of Korean modern art. The museum’s four branches carry out MMCA’s commitment to the art and culture of Korea by enriching the first-hand cultural experience of the viewing public. Through its various locations, MMCA intends to function as a cultural platform that encourages communication and cross-pollination of contemporary art with other various disciplines of art, science, and humanities.

National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Explore this museum and you’ll find at its center at huge pond underneath a vast square concrete structure supported by a single pillar known as el paraguas, or the umbrella. Around this are 23 exhibit rooms displaying treasures, including Mayan civilization artifacts. The Stone of the Sun and giant stone heads that were found in the jungles of Tabasco and Veracruz.

MASP, São Paulo

This architectural landmark in São Paulo was designed by Lina Bo Bardi and is Brazil’s first modern museum. The floating design is mirrored in its internal art displays, with its collection of artworks suspended in perspex frames that make it appear like the canvases are hovering above the ground.

Photo credits:

Photo #1: Musée du Louvre

Photo #2: The J. Paul Getty Museum

Photo #3: Hollyhock House

Photo #4: Musée du Louvre

Photo #5: Musée d’Orsay

Photo #6: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Photo #7: Pergamon Museum

Photo #8: Uffizi Gallery

Photo #9: Van Gogh Museum

Photo #10: National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

Photo #11: National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Photo #12: MASP, São Paulo