In search of a great virtual museum tour that you can take right now? Luckily, many of the worlds’ top museums have created virtual experiences that let you visit their exhibits from home. These are perfect for those of us that are itching to travel again. Check out my list of the best museum online tours that you can do from the comfort of home.
Whether you’re homeschooling, itching for a vacation or just looking for something new and interesting to check out one of these virtual museum tours is sure to catch your eye.
What Museums have Free Virtual Tours?
From the Louvre to the Frida Kahlo Museum there are so many museums that are offering free online virtual tours of many of their exhibits.
Before diving into the individual places, a fascinating place to start is the Google Arts and Culture Page. This resource has LOADS of artwork, stories, photographs and virtual reality experiences that you can participate in. There is a webpage to visit, but there is also an app. If you want to do the VR experience then I recommended that you download the app. It’s not compatible on all phones but newer androids and Apples should have the right capabilities.
The Best Virtual Museum Tours
Many of the museums that are offering online tours and experiences are art museums however we have tried to provide a few other unique online museum tours in this list as well.
Frida Kahlo Museum – Mexico City
If art or Mexico are on your dream field trip than an online visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum aka Blue House should be on your list. The tour takes you through Kahlo’s home in You can couple it with this free lesson plan that is good for beginning Spanish as well as art and discussion prompts.
The tour allows you to walk through the museum, you can view the paintings on display however there is no accompanying text, and you cannot zoom in on the images. An additional learning activity could be to find and pair the paintings in the blue house with the list of her works found on the Frida Kahlo website.
Lima Art Museum – Lima, Peru
MALI Museo de Arte de Lima (Lima Art Museum) has a mini-documentary tour with English subtitles on YouTube titled “Los Khipus de Ttio”. Historian and professor at Texas State University, José Carlos de la Puente, visits the community of Ttio in the Cuzco province to learn of how khipus were used.
Khipus is a “knot-record” method used by the Inca and other ancient Andean cultures to keep records and communicate info in the absence of an alphabetic writing system. This simple and highly portable device achieved a surprising degree of precision and flexibility. It is fascinating for those that love diving into history.
Smithsonian Natural History Museum
The Smithsonian Natural History Museum is a must-visit when in Washington DC, but for visitors that can’t make it to the US capitol it’s also possible to view much of the museum online. Visitors can travel throughout the museum following the map overview in the top corner.
For those with VR capabilities there is a VR mode where you actually feel even more immersed in the museum. Several items also have a small camera icon on them when you zoom in. Clicking it enlarges that item for an even closer view. View items like the Hope Diamond, Egyptian mummies and the story of early humans.
British Museum – London, England
When you access the British Museum website, you are presented by a timeline that begins at present day. On the right side it allows you to filter by your interest. Topics include art and design, power and identity, living and dying, religion and belief, as well as trade and conflict. Further, filtering happens by the geographical location you’d like to explore.
For example, click The Americas in the mid 1800’s and a white buffalo skin appears. Click this and the item pops up. An image shows the item with accompanying text, an audio description, geographical pinpointing and images of related objects.
This is a fascinating way to explore a wide range of topics over time. Not only is it educational but it’s quite fun to explore the interactive items.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art – Seoul, South Korea
There are many museums that offer virtual exhibits but if you are looking for something slightly different check out the online National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea. You can’t do a virtual tour of the museum however they do offer almost 100 different “exhibits” that are free online. Items like performance videos, VR tours of specific exhibits, and artist in residence interviews.
This is a really interesting museum especially for those interested in Korean or Asian art in general. It provides a unique look at how art is presented in this part of the world.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne is the oldest and most visited gallery In Australia. However, with travel access to Australia (and within Australia) limited, it’s now possible to visit much of the museum virtually. There are over 70,000 works the museum holds, and they are currently promoting the 2020 Triennial highlighting contemporary art and design.
In addition to the exhibits that can be viewed online, you can schedule a virtual field trip for your class (homeschool and classes). There are 17 different programs available that can be booked online.
Art Institute of Chicago
One of the best examples of digital art museums is the Art Institute of Chicago. Not only can you see the museum from your computer, but they provide a multitude of ways to interact with the artwork and artists. The free app offers a pocket-sized tour of the museum with storytelling that brings the works to life. Museum online tours like this really are a great way to spend a quiet evening.
Be sure to check out the Journeymaker whether you plan to visit in person or you just want a fun gamified way to explore the Art Institute. Choose your theme and follow the prompts to select items. In the end, you have a printable PDF that allows you to further learn about and explore the items on your journey.
Galileo Museum – Florence, Italy
Galileo Galilei is known as the father of modern astronomy. He lived in Italy from the mid 1500’s until the mid 1600’s and made countless discoveries that changed the world. Along with astronomy he also made major achievements in relation to velocity, gravity, and the scientific method. The Galileo Museum is a testament to all of his work. The museum in Florence is a fascinating site, but you can also visit online.
The museum offers remote learning experiences such as Galileo and his telescope and the scientific instruments at the Galileo Museum. These do need to be booked online and in advance but are open to anyone. There are also over a dozen online exhibits that can be viewed anytime – all of which are in English.
For those specifically interested in Galileo’s works and documents the Galileo//thek database provides a digital repository for hundreds of these items.
The Louvre – Paris, France
The Louvre aka the worlds’ most famous art museum also has an online presence. The fun animated series “the museum in a minute” is a collection of videos that explain different paintings. Or download the 3D VR experience of the Mona Lisa for your smartphone. Users learn about the techniques and processes used by da Vinci to create this masterpiece.
If you’re more interested in seeing the actual museum there are themed virtual tours that allow you to “walk” through different areas of the museum. While you can view the artwork, not all of the tours have the item explanations in English – a good chance to brush up your French!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
One of the world’s greatest museums is brought to life…by kids! This online version of The Metropolitan Museum of Art aka the Met is designed with kids in mind. From the opening page which is designed in comic book style kids are encouraged to explore based on their interests. Each item focuses on information based in four areas; discover, imagine, create and learn more.
Next, hop in the time machine and choose the time periods, geographic location and big ideas you’d like to explore. Push the GO button to watch the artifacts that fit pop up. Finally, the video section has videos that show ideas of how kids can make art, Q&A about the museum and art made by kids.
For older viewers the MetCollects presents specific items in high contrast photography and attached narrative. Every week there are online live events such as talks, art activities and musical performances. Overall, this website is a fantastic way to explore great artwork from around the world in an engaging and interactive way.
National Museum of Computing – Bletchley Park, UK
Whether you’re a total computer geek, someone interested in history or just looking for a different type of museum to visit the National Museum of Computing is worth checking out. The physical museum is housed in Bletchley Park, a location infamous as the top-secret home for code breakers during World War II. Most famously the Enigma code was broken here.
There are several things to learn from this website. It provides great insight to those who are curious how the code breakers worked through archival materials such as photographs. On the website you can also find their podcast that currently has over 100 episodes.
Journey inside the museum through the virtual tour. Online exhibitions allow viewers to walk through the museum and learn more. Inside looks like you have stepped back in time with period furnishings. When possible, the museum hosts virtual live events on a range of topics. These can also be booked privately when the museum is open.
How Much do Virtual Museum Exhibit Tours Cost?
You will find hundreds of museums around the world offering FREE exhibit online tours right now. There is a museum to fit every interest from computers to naturual history!
Can’t Travel? Well, Try some Virtual Museum Tours from Home Online
Even though you may be limited by which museums can be visited, more and more museums are moving their collections online giving many unique opportunities to learn and experience art and history firsthand.