Tour Museums from the Comfort of Your Couch

Close up shot of the British Museum in London

The best way to learn about the world is to travel, but that’s not always an option for any number of reasons. Thankfully, with the help of the internet, you can tour numerous places around the globe with the click of a button.

Many museums and galleries have made their collections available to view online. Here are a few we recommend if you want to learn more about different countries, their culture and history:

  1. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution, which includes 19 museums and the National Zoo, has a variety of exhibitions available to view online, and has also made its vast collection searchable. Current online exhibitions include The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire, Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, and Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad, among many others that highlight both art and culture from different parts of the world, and the role that diverse groups played in shaping America.
  2. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia: The State Tretyakov Gallery is “the national treasury of Russian fine art” and its collection “consists entirely of Russian art and artists who have made а contribution to the history of Russian art or been closely connected with it. The collection contains more than 180,000 works of painting, sculpture and graphics, created throughout the centuries by successive generations of Russian artists.”
  3. Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands: The Anne Frank house is “an independent non-profit organisation that runs a museum in the house where Anne Frank went into hiding,” that works “to increase awareness of Anne’s life story all over the world.” Online exhibits include a tour of the Frank family home, and a virtual reality tour of the Secret Annex in which she and her family hid.
  4. The British Museum, London, England: You can tour the British Museum’s vast colletions on their website, with pieces ranging from our century all the way back to 2,000,000 BC, and from all over the world. You can narrow down your viewing to the themes of Art and Design, Living and Dying, Power and Identity, Religion and Belief, and Trade and Conflict.
  5. The Louvre, Paris, France: One of the world’s most well-known art museums has three virtual collections to explore: Egyptian antiquities, the Galerie d'Apollon, and the remains of the Louvre’s moat that once surrounded the former fortress.
  6. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya: The National Museums of Kenya “is a multi-disciplinary institution whose role is to collect, preserve, study, document and present Kenya’s past and present cultural and natural heritage.” On Google Arts & Culture, you can explore a number of collections provided by this museum, including Kenya’s 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Maasai Beliefs and Legends, and Our Daily Bread: The Traditional Livelihood of Kenya’s Communities.
  7. Incredible India!: While not a museum, this offers a wide range of stories highlighting different regions and cultures across India. Explore Goa, see the Golden Temple in Amritsar, or learn more about the famed Taj Mahal.

Are there any other museums whose online collections you recommend? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter!