In this new era of self isolation and social distancing, the idea of travel and what it means has changed drastically.
However, thanks to the internet all is not lost!
As galleries, museums, libraries and places of shared learning are closing their physical doors around the world, many of them are opening up their online archives for the world to see.
Even Google Earth lets you see the world from different points of view – satellite, street view, maps. By clicking on the ‘explore’ button are you scroll around the map of the world, different locations show up, allowing you to explore further. All from the comfort of your couch. Set your view to 2D or 3D, pin your favourites to create projects (or travel wish list), and completely customise the maps to suit you.
It definitely gives new meaning to ‘armchair traveller’!
Physical libraries and community centres are closing temporarily, but eBooks exist and you don’t even need a dedicated eReader to appreciate the ability to read (almost) anything you want electronically.
It is time to appreciate the full potential of the online world, and perhaps even more importantly – appreciate the freedom we used to have to see these things in person.
The biggest danger I see here is everyone getting so comfortable online that by the time the worst of this pandemic is over, and we are all allowed out again, that no one will want to physically travel anymore!
No danger of that from me though – I’m already getting a bit stir crazy!
Which Museums are offering virtual tours?
This is by no means an extensive list, there are over 2,000 museums around the world who have collaborated with Google Arts & Culture, offering virtual tours or selections of their collections free to view online using their StreetView technology.
Some of the more well known museums which have virtual tours include:
The Louvre (Paris, France) – Click here to explore the Egyptian Antiquities, the remains of the Louvre’s Moat and the Galerie d’Apollon
Picasso Museum (Barcelona, Spain) – Click here to explore the architecture of the museum and its history
The Vatican Museum (Vatican City, Italy) – click here to choose from the virtual tours and even see the Sistine Chapel
The Met (New York City, USA) – Click here to watch six short videos displaying parts of the iconic building in ways you wouldn’t expect
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC) – Click here to feel like a kid again and ‘walk’ your way through the museum
British Museum (London, UK) – Click here to see history unfold in front of you (honestly this one was better then being in the museum itself!) follow the timeline and click on different events and learn how they all connect
The Dali Museum (Florida, USA) – Click here to explore inside and outside this fascinating museum dedicated to Salvador Dali
NASA in USA is something a bit different – Click here to take your pick of virtual tours around their different sites and programs
See the full contemporary collection at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, USA
Explore the large online library of artwork at MoMa – Museum of Modern Art in New York City, USA
The Tate Britain, London UK – this world renowned institution has just under 300 pieces available to explore online
Or explore the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy with its incredible collection of renaissance art
The historic Doge Palace in Venice, Italy from the canals and inside
The National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy which displays artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum
The Musee d’Orsay in Paris, France has several distinctive works and exhibits online
The J. Paul Getty Musuem in Los Angeles, USA have nearly 16,000 works available online from the 8th through to 20th century
Explore La Galleria Nazionale in Rome, Italy from your couch with its virtual tours and nearly 450 pieces online
See the National Museum of New Delhi, India has over 600 pieces online to explore including exhibitions
The Rijks Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands has one of the largest collections online with 164,511 pieces available to explore
The Art Institute of Chicago, USA has one of the largest permanent collections in the USA, so far only 600 pieces are online but that is enough to start!
The Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City, Mexico displaying several works of art, clothing and personal items belonging to Frida Kahlo
Google has joined with so many museums and galleries that it is impossible to list them all… explore at your own pace and find something that inspires you at Google Arts & Culture.
Honestly I wish we had this when I was at school!
Live Orchestral Concerts
Some of the most amazing orchestras are showing the world and a whole new audience just what they are capable of:
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Melbourne, Australia) – Click here to see their YouTube channel
The Met – The Metropolitan Opera (New York City, USA) – Click here to see their live nightly performances. But be quick, the shows are only staying up for 20 hours.
OperaVision is your one stop shop for all European based orchestras – Click here to look through their playlist
My fingers are crossed though that The Alternative Symphony release full versions of their orchestral renditions of Dr Dre and Daft Punk (it was absolutely incredible to see live in Melbourne last year)
The Classic FM site has a list of upcoming live stream symphonies that are coming up from Orchestras around the world, including New York, Melbourne, Berlin, Budapest, London and more. This is truly an incredible opportunity to experience something that most of us never will.
Theme Parks, Parks, Zoos and Aquariums
The stuff dreams are made off… tap the virtual glass wall and explore these Zoos and Aquariums via virtual tours, google street view and live recordings.
Disneyland & Disney World – Click here to explore the park with Google Street View
Monterey Bay Aquarium (California, USA) – Click here to see the different areas of the aquarium with live web cams
San Diego Zoo (California, USA) – Click here to watch live and recorded footage of some of the zoo’s animals
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, USA) – Click here to explore the nine web cams that are scattered around the park
Yosmite National Park (California, USA) – Click here to watch the top part of Upper Yosmite Falls via webcams
Melbourne Zoo (Melbourne, Australia) – Click here to watch the live streaming cameras the Zoo has started to put up (the Snow Leopard Cubs are now my favourite!)
As you can see, the world has truly come together to share in what will be incredibly strange times ahead.
We can still travel, just differently and with endless inspiration!
This post was last updated 16th June 2021