Virtual Arts & Culture Visits


The internet provides plenty of opportunities to virtually visit places of historical, cultural and/or artistic relevance; often the tours and supporting materials provided are not merely very well curated and produced, but also engaging and even fun.

The most comprehensive provider of such virtual tours is Google Arts and Culture; you may find a selection of their tours relevant for arts education here.

HiSoUR is another nonprofit platform compiling free virtual tours and exhibitions that may be searched by a set of handy filters (e.g. region, medium/discipline, or theme). Most of the tours are also based on Google technology; the selection of experiencing is more diverse (in paricular in terms of regions) than many others that seem to often focus on North America, and the tours are accompanied by texts in 12 available languages as well as audio readouts. The site is a bit heavy on advertisement, which is also sometimes not clearly distinguished as such visually; but that may be an acceptable compromise for an otherwise well conceived free service.

Other free online visits and tours of interest may include:

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Virtual tour of the Secret Annex where Anne Frank hid for more than two years during WWII and where she wrote her diary.

Art Institue Chicago, Chicago (USA)
Visitors may explore thousands of artworks in the museum’s wide-ranging collection – from their world-renowned icons to lesser-known gems from every corner of the globe – as well as related books, writings, reference materials, and other resources.

Buckingham Palace, London (UK)
Online tours of selected rooms of Buckingham Palace in London.   

The Courtauld, London (UK)
The Courtauld Institute of Art, commonly referred to as The Courtauld, is a self-governing college of the University of London specialising in the study of the history of art and conservation. It’s collection may visited online.

Dalí’s Theatre Museum, Figueres (Spain)
An interactive virtual tour of Dalí’s Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain, where the master himself is buried under the stage.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon (USA)
Virtual tour of the estate of George Washington, first president of the United States, a colonial plantation in Virginia in a loose Palladian style.

Highclere Castle, Hamshire (UK)
Tour of Highclere Castle, one of England’s most beautiful Jacobethan castles, home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, and the real-life location of TV’s Downton Abbey.

Iolani Palace, Honolulu (USA)
Virtual tour of the Iolani Palace, seat of the Hawaiian Monarchy, of American Florentine style.

Access Mars allows the visitor to explore a 3D replica of the Martian surface, exactly as it was recorded by the Curiosity rover.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey (USA)
10 live cam streams from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

San Diego Zoo, San Diego (USA)
12 live cam streams from major animal compounds in San Diego Zoo.

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna (Austria)
Photo-based online tour of Rococo-style Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.

The Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. (USA)
The Smithsonian Institute is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. You may find a more comprehensive introduction to the Smithsonian’s online offerings here.

Taj Mahal, Delhi (India)
Tour of 22 areas of the Taj Mahal and its gardens through 360° panoramas, maps, narrated mini-movies, music and text.

The Jefferson Monticello, Charlotteville (USA)
Virtual tour of the Palladian-style estate of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia.

The Louvre, Paris (France)
Online tours of selected exhibits, rooms, and features of the Louvre in Paris.

Various University Campuses (USA)
If you were planning your next university move, you may virtually tour various university campuses – by 360˚ photos or in VR – of more than 600 US tertiary institutions.

Vatican Museum, Rome (Italy)
Series of 360˚ photos of selected rooms in the Vatican Museums.

Versailles, Paris (France)
Series of 360˚ photos of the gardens of Versailles.

Apart from free virtual visits provided by institutions themselves, there are also some commercial providers with worthwhile products:

Clio Muse Tours
Very well produced virtual tours of mostly classic Greek and Roman sites that feel like something between taking an audio tour, watching a documentary, and playing a video game.

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