5 museums and galleries you can visit from your sofa

Lockdown restrictions are gradually lifting, but it’s expected to be some time before life gets back to ‘normal’. If you’ve been missing the opportunity to visit museums and galleries over the last few months, there are some you can experience without having to leave your sofa.

Thanks to technology, organisations have been able to bring their collections direct to you. So, if you’re looking to add some culture to your routine, why not take a virtual tour of some of the most famous museums and galleries around the world?

1. British Museum, London

The British Museum first opened its doors in 1759 and has been delighting visitors with a vast array of artefacts and galleries since then. Documenting more than two million years of human history and culture, you’re sure to find something that will catch your eye here.

Among the most popular exhibitions to add to your list is the Rosetta Stone, which was essential for translating the Ancient Egyptian language, the classic Greek sculptures the Parthenon Marbles, and, of course, the writing on Egyptian mummies.

The venue is the world’s largest indoor space on Google Street View, so you can wander through more than 60 galleries without having to set foot outside. On top of this, the museum also offers a podcast that takes you behind the scenes, a YouTube channel packed with interviews and much more. Start exploring the museum digitally here.

2. Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Located in beautiful Florence, the Uffizi Gallery is the most visited Italian museum and with good reason. The building itself is worth exploring with structures on the complex dating back to the mid-1500s, built by the famous Medici family to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates. It’s now famous for its huge collection of priceless artwork, much of which is from the Renaissance period.

During the summer season, tourists can wait as long as five hours to step into the gallery. The virtual tour lets you skip the queues and admire incredible works such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and The Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci.

3. The National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

This museum is perfect for people that love to learn more about history. Built relatively recently, in 1964, 23 exhibit rooms are filled with artefacts waiting to be explored. It aims to preserve Mexico’s indigenous legacy and celebrate its pre-Columbian cultural heritage. As a result, there’s a fascinating amount of artefacts that date back centuries.

Among the artefacts that attract the most attention from tourists is the Piedra del Sol – the famous Aztec sunstone that weighs 24 tonnes-  giant stone heads of the Olmec civilization, and many treasures found at the archaeological site Chichen Itza.

In collaboration with Google Arts and Culture, you can now view over 140 of the museum’s most intriguing items online. Click here to view the collection and start learning about Mexico’s history.

4. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Established in 1939, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum features an expanding collection of impressionist, early modern and contemporary art. The cylindrical building, which the museum moved to in 1959 has become a landmark in its own right and was conceived as a ‘temple of the spirit’. Since then, several expansions have extended the space of the museum.

Jackson Pollock’s Alchemy, Magritte’s Empire of Light and Vasily Kandinsky’s Composition 8 are just some of the popular masterpieces available to view at the Guggenheim.

Using Google’s Street View feature here, you can take in some of the most famous sights from the Guggenheim Museum. The museum also offers online programs and resources, including interactive virtual tours and family-friendly options. Check the calendar of events here.

5. Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Pergamon is the most popular museum in Berlin, with over a million people visiting every year, and houses a huge range of art treasures. It features three distinct collections – Collection of Classical Antiquities, Museum of the Ancient Near East and Museum of Islamic Art – all with something to discover.

The museum houses monumental buildings that are breathtaking, even online. These include the Ishtar Gate from ancient Babylon, the Market Gate of Miletus, which was rebuilt following an earthquake around 1,000 years ago, and the Mshatta Façade, part of one of the 8th century Desert Castles of Jordan.

You can now take in the Pergamon Museum from your home here. The museum’s website also offers a 3D model of the famous Pergamon Altar, one of the terraces of the acropolis of the ancient Greek city Pergamon dating back to the 2nd century BC.

In a bid to connect with audiences during coronavirus restrictions, hundreds of other museums, galleries and other tourist attractions are offering virtual tours and digital programs too. An excellent place to start if you’re looking for some culture is Google Arts & Culture – let us know about your great finds!

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