Music / Guide

Get cultured: The best online exhibitions, museums, virtual tours, and more

There are still ways to get cultured...even from your couch.

These online exhibitions and adventures are next level.

Just because we’re stuck indoors, doesn’t mean we can’t explore. Thanks to the beautiful place that is the internet, you can now visit some of the world’s best galleries, most beautiful museums, and other incredible sites right from the comfort of your own bed.

Brilliant? We know!

This has been an absolute game-changer for us. At first, when we started getting a bit stir crazy, we took to Google Street View to travel around the world. We walked around Paris, took a trip to Rome, lived it up in London and Los Angeles in the same day – real jet setters we are.

 And then we discovered that there were much easier, high-definition ways of exploring the world, so we wanted to share them here with you. Go out (digitally) and explore some of the world’s most magical wonders (from the comfort of your house).

National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)

online museum ngv

While you can’t spend your weekend exploring NGV’s brilliant exhibitions, their newly launched NGV Channel is giving you the chance to explore it all digitally. A whole series of online galleries, virtual exhibition tours, and eBooks are now free to access via the NGV’s website. The virtual content is continuing to grow. Right now you can take a virtual stroll through Collecting Comme – featuring more than 65 of Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garcons visionary outfits – and the NGV’s Indigenous art collection Marking Time. KAWS: Companionship In The Age of Loneliness is coming, as is Keith Haring & Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines. You can find it all here.

The Louvre

online exhibitions louvre

If you’ve ever been to Paris, then we’re sure you’ve experienced the scintillating excitement of walking into The Louvre. For those of us at home, the jewel of Paris’ art scene is offering three incredible virtual tours. Sorry, Mona Lisa isn’t on the list here, that’s an experience you need to have in real life – but you can take a wander through their Egyptian Antiques collection which starts with a sphinx and features pieces dating back to several centuries BCE. There is also a look at the remains of the landmarks old moat (the museum was a fortress after all) and the Galerie d’Apollon (don’t forget to look up). Check it out here.

Van Gogh Museum

online exhibitions van gogh

Amsterdam is abundant with incredible art museums, and their Van Gogh Museum is home to the largest collection of the artist’s work in the world. There are more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 letters on display here. Of course, Sunflowers is in the mix, but the gallery features pieces from every stage of Van Gogh’s career – from portraits to flowers and scenery. Roam around at your own pace, zoom in close to check out the details, and enjoy. As far as online exhibitions go, this is pretty impressive. Check it out here.

Google Arts and Culture

online exhibitions google arts cuture

Alongside the Van Gogh virtual walkthrough, Google Arts and Culture is taking things next level. You can take a trip to New York’s Guggenheim Museum, London’s British Museum, Paris’s Musee d’Orsay, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, and so many more. This is worth mapping out an evening or two just to dive into. Check out these museums, online exhibitions, and more right here.

The Smithsonian

online exhibitions smithsonian

Natural history is really really cool, and that’s what Washington’s Smithsonian – with more than 145 million specimens and artifacts in its collection – is all about. While you can’t check out the whole lot online, their virtual tour does let you take a look at a whole chunk of their current, previous, and permanent displays. From butterflies to dinosaur bones, mammals to gems and minerals – there’s even an exhibit dedicated to outbreaks and epidemics – it’s probably easier to ask what The Smithsonian doesn’t cover. Get your explore on right here.

The Sistine Chapel

sistine chapel

Stepping into The Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel is otherworldly. The scope of it is incredible, and gazing upon the immense detail in Michelangelo’s wall-to-wall hand-painted frescoes is somewhat of a life-changing experience. They are pretty strict on taking pictures and the crowd is usually immense, but here, in their virtual tour, you are free to do whatever you like and free to stay however long you choose. Once you’re done in the Sistine Chapel you can also explore the other wings, museums, and chapels in the Vatican including Raphael’s Rooms and the Chiaramonti Museum. Have a wander right here.

Museums Victoria – Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks, Immigration Museum

museums victoria

All your primary school excursions (and adult weekend adventures!) are set to come back to life with this one. Museums Victoria’s new Museums At Home portal allows you to connect, explore, and learn about all the incredible information housed in each of these buildings. Enter Melbourne Museum and explore everything from their Dinosaur Walk to their Forest Gallery. Scienceworks will take you through their Sportsworks exhibit (sorry, you can’t race Cathy Freeman this time), their Think Ahead exhibition, and the Spotswood Pumping Station. Finally, the Immigration Museum will take you inside some of Victoria’s personal stories of migration. Dive on in right here.

ACMI – Virtual Cinémathèque

film club

Something a little bit different for any film buffs or cinephiles out there. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) have now launched their Virtual Cinémathèque online film club. The online cinema sessions won’t follow the program for the 2020 Melbourne Cinémathèque season but will still feature double bills that focus on specific actors, directors or themes. The weekly event will have its program announced every Tuesday, with the first session on Wednesday 25 March featuring two films (The White Balloon and Offside) from Iranian new wave director Jafar Panahi. 

The films will be screened via SBS on Demand, so get yourself a free account if you haven’t already. Future films will be chosen from a variety of streaming services, so stay up-to-date by visiting ACMI’s Virtual Cinémathèque event page.

Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo

melbourne zoo

Zoos Victoria has gone all out to bring the cute factor right into your living room. Be warned, this is highly distracting, but in the absolute best way possible. Not only have they popped a camera in the Snow Leopard Cubs’ nest box, we’ve also got cameras on the penguins, giraffes, lions, and zebras. Because the animals can wander around wherever they want, they aren’t always in shot, but we guess that means you’ll have to keep checking back, right? Inject some cuteness into your day right here.

San Diego Zoo

san diego zoo

While we’re talking about animal live streams, we can’t forget San Diego Zoo. You are sure to see some absolutely hilarious happenings over here. They’ve got cameras set up with the apes, baboons, condors, elephants, koalas, pandas, penguins, polar bears, and tigers – so all of the cutest, coolest, and funniest animals – to keep you entertained for hours. Check it all out here.

Grammy Museum

grammy museum

The Grammy Museum’s main mission is to provide music education for all, so they’re making some of their never-before-released content from the GRAMMY Museum archives available online. Their Exhibits At Home section features some selected works from their X: 40 Years of Punk in Los Angeles exhibition that celebrated four decades since the band X’s formation.

The Museum’s Programs at Home digital series will feature intimate sit-down interviews with an array of incredible artists. Right not you can watch chats with Scarypoolparty, Yola, and Bob Newhart, and there are chats with Larkin Poe, Billie Eilish, Greta Van Fleet, and more scheduled in the coming weeks. Finally, if you want to add some learning into your day, their Music Education at Home program will see the Museum upload a new lesson or activity every week – from electronic music production to careers through music, and video production, there are definitely some interesting skills to learn. Get learning right here.

Paris Catacombs

paris catacombs

The Paris Catacombs are a pretty unique world site. Their history dates back to the eighteenth century. Starting in 1809, the Catacombs were opened to the public. In the late eighteenth century, major public health problems tied to Paris’ cemeteries saw their contents moved to an underground site. Paris authorities chose an easily accessible site that was, at the time, located outside the capital: the former Tombe-Issoire quarries under the Plain of Montrouge. The first evacuations were made from 1785 to 1787.

If you plan on visiting the Catacombs on foot, prepare to head 20 metres underground – climbing down 131 steps and climbing up 112 – as you cover the 1.5km circuit. In total, the Paris Catacombs 11,000 square metres. They encourage visitors to the Catacombs to focus the time toward introspection and a meditation on death. For now, while we’re stuck at home, you can take a virtual tour around part of the Catacombs. Explore this fascinating historical monument right here.

Harry Potter Escape Room 

hogwarts escape room

The Peters Township Public Library in Pennsylvania is really treating us. It follows the same premise as those in-real-life escape rooms except you get to explore it from your couch. You kick off your escape room adventure as a naive first-year student at Hogwarts whose House Prefect has decided a fun initiation process will be to get locked in a room and have to figure your way out. From here you’ll be required to watch movie clips, solve riddles, and learn spells to progress throughout the game. Keep in mind, it’s not an official Harry Potter game and has been created by Youth Services Librarian Sydney Krawiec (AKA a real-life legend). But if you’re looking for something fun to kill some time, or an easy way to keep the kids entertained, this is a good one. Go on, treat yourself. We dare you.

Well, we’re sure our round-up of online exhibitions and adventures has filled at least a few of your mornings, afternoons, and evenings with some culture, cuteness, and all-around chaos. What to do next? Check out our Guide To Working From Home if you need some tips.

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