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Stuck at Home? Take a Virtual Field Trip to the World’s Best Museums

If you and your family are safe at home self-isolating during this period of COVID-19 quarantine, there is only so much Fortnite, Netflix, and 2020 memes you can absorb before boredom sets in. You may not feel comfortable leaving home, but thanks to the internet, you can travel the world and soak in some culture from the comfort of your family’s sofa.

Why not take the family to the Louvre this morning? Or solve an espionage case at the Spy Museum together this afternoon? Or celebrate Women’s History Month by learning about the women of NASA who helped the lunar landing happen?

We’ve collected some of the museums, galleries, and cultural institutions that have virtual museum tours and online exhibits. Where will you take your teenager this afternoon?

1. Virtual Art Museums

Google Arts & Culture has joined with over 2500 museums and galleries around the world to bring anyone and everyone virtual tours and online exhibits of some of the most famous museums around the world.

British Museum, London

Tour this world-famous museum and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. You can also find hundreds of artifacts on the museum’s virtual tour.

The Louvre, Paris

See the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Napoleon’s apartment in a fully immersive, 360-degree virtual tour.

Guggenheim Museum, New York

Experience the Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase without ever leaving home. From there, you can discover incredible works of art from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary eras.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

This famous American art museum features two online exhibits. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer. The museum has also created virtual tours to accompany recent exhibitions of Raphael and His Circle and Degas at the Opera.

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

View dozens of famous works from French artists who worked and lived between 1848 and 1914, including artwork from Monet, Cézanne, and Gauguin.

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

One of South Korea’s popular museums can be accessed from anywhere around the world. This virtual tour takes you through six floors of Contemporary art from Korea and all over the globe.

Pergamon Museum, Berlin

As one of Germany’s largest museums, Pergamon is a historical museum with plenty of ancient artifacts including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and, of course, the Pergamon Altar.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Explore the masterworks from the Dutch Golden Age, including works from Vermeer and Rembrandt with a street view tour that feels as if you’re actually wandering its halls.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

See the world’s largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.

2. Virtual Opera and Classical Music Concerts

Has your teen ever seen an opera performance? New York’s Metropolitan Opera will offer free digital shows each night at 7:30 p.m, and each night, the institution will post an encore showing of an opera from its “Met Live in HD” series.

The Berlin Philharmonic isn’t performing, but has opened up its archives of hundreds of performances by famous conductors and soloists.

The Vienna State Opera has also opened its archives and is offering a different opera available to watch each day, for free, via its streaming platform.

3. Virtual Natural History and Science Museums

View current and past permanent exhibitions at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. with a variety of free virtual tours.

The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum showcases art and other archaeological finds of ancient civilizations from the Near East. The museum is home to permanent galleries featuring artifacts from ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and Megiddo.

Visit the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park, England and learn about the world’s largest collection of working historic computers. Learn about breaking the Enigma Code in World War II, or see Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer.

Celebrate Women’s History month by visiting the National Women’s History Museum. The NWHM website is home to a ton of informative multimedia online exhibits. The subject matter of the exhibits is incredibly varied, with everything from women in Congress to female spies throughout history.

The popular Spy Museum in Washington D.C. is dedicated to all things espionage and offers virtual tours. Visitors can delve into the history of real-life international espionage. View objects used by international intelligence services, including cipher machines, counterfeit currency, disguised weapons, miniature cameras, radio transmitters and receivers, and dead drops. In addition, several of the exhibits are related to specific espionage cases and historic figures.

4. Virtual Cultural and World Heritage Sites

Google has worked with over 60 world famous cultural heritage sites in the Open Heritage Project to provide 3-D modeling and virtual tours of sacred, cultural, and world heritage sites all over the world. It’s amazing what is available, and often at a vantage point you would never experience in real life.

Jane Parent, former editor at Your Teen, is the parent of three.

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