While there is no denying that the pandemic-induced lockdown and travel restrictions have forced us to sacrifice many good things in life as of now, it has also given us an opportunity to enjoy some of the best museums in the world on virtual tours from the comfort of our homes. For example, did you know that the top five museums in the US have decided to take some of their collections, exhibitions, even books from the library to the digital medium?
Few museums in the world leave an impression on visitors quite like the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. With over 30 million specimens and cultural artefacts in its collection, the museum is not only a storehouse of information on natural history but also a scientific and educational resource. Some interesting exhibits that draw young and old alike are the 94-foot blue whale, dinosaur halls, the 15.5 tonne Willamette Meteorite, and the various dioramas. According to most travellers, you need several visits if you want to see each and every exhibit. However, the museum’s website and apps can be explored to enjoy some of the collections, exhibitions and educational programmes. Or you can take a virtual tour here.
Another iconic attraction in New York City is the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Met. With a collection of nearly two million works of art spanning 5,000 years, one of the best collections of rare European art, the largest collection of Egyptian art outside Cairo, and many other records to its credit, it is no surprise that it is on the bucket list of nearly all visitors to NYC. Even though you may not be able to visit it anytime soon, see some of the uploaded videos, listen to audio guides, and even read free books from their library from the safety of your home. By the way, the Met is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
Exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, reflect the highest level of artistic creations not only through paintings or drawings but also in areas such as photographs, decorative art, textile and fashion art, jewellery, musical instruments, Judaica (Jewish ritual objects), etc. Catch a glimpse of some of their over 450,000 works of art on a virtual tour. The museum has also decided to take some of its exhibitions online, such as this themed on Boston’s history of collecting French Impressionist Claude Monet’s paintings.
You can also go on a virtual tour to get an idea of the extensive collection spanning from prehistory through the 21st century housed in more than 100 galleries at Michigan’s Detroit Institute of Arts. Mexican artist Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry Murals and Vincent van Gogh’s Self Portrait (the first of his paintings to be included in a US museum collection) are two of its prized possessions. Similarly, a virtual tour through the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, is equally rewarding. Famous as one of the oldest and largest museums in the US, its collection of art and artefacts ranges from 5,000 BC to the present.