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Museums all over the world are displaying their collections virtually

At this point, you’re probably getting restless from being cooped up in your house, and weekly trips to the grocery store might not be exciting enough. If you’re looking for adventure but not looking to put yourself at risk by leaving quarantine, try these online exhibits from all over the world.


Museum of Art and Archaeology’s Weekly Friday Feature

The museum’s Mizzou North location is closed indefinitely, but its curators know how to feed our art appetites. Since closing for stay-at-home orders, the Museum of Art and Archaeology has launched Weekly Friday Feature, which highlights one piece of artwork in their arsenal every week, and it includes a short article about the art. Looking for an online exhibit that’s around a little longer? Fret not. The Museum of Art and Archaeology also has longer virtual exhibits, such as Reframing the Renaissance Print and Salvador Dali: Memories of Surrealism.

Saint Louis Zoo’s live webcams

The penguins at the Saint Louis Zoo are iconic, and now, you don’t have to wonder what they’re up to while the zoo is closed. Pop into the penguin webcam from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to see them swim and splash around. The zoo also offers a rotating webcam that switches to a new animal exhibit every day at 9 a.m. Dive into the polar bear tank on Mondays, or swing into gorilla enclosure on Wednesdays. The full schedule is on the Saint Louis Zoo website, so you can take your pick.

Saint Louis Art Museum’s online exhibitions


The Saint Louis Art Museum also offers an Object of the Day to highlight specific pieces in their collections.

There are three online exhibitions offered by the Saint Louis Art Museum, each of which is detailed and fascinating. In addition to the artwork and history on the pieces, these virtual features include curator commentary, YouTube videos and maps. Choose from collections such as Millet and Modern Art, The Shape of Abstraction or Javanese Batik Textiles. If you want something a little shorter, much like the Museum of Art and Archaeology’s Weekly Friday Feature, the Saint Louis Art Museum also offers an Object of the Day to highlight specific pieces in their collections.

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s Passport to India

This online interactive exhibit offers more than the title suggests. The art and features aren’t limited to just India; the exhibit also dips into other South Asian and Middle Eastern countries to create a well-rounded online art experience. Click through the Islamic Art exhibit photos, watch a video about Pakistani American welding artist Asheer Akram and listen to commentary about featured relics. There’s even a section that inspires some related at-home craft ideas.


Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s virtual tours

The Smithsonian's museums don't want you to miss your chance to see their exhibits. The National Museum of Natural History has uploaded tours of its past, current and permanent exhibits. It even includes some behind-the-scenes footage at its research centers and additional tours. Each virtual tour includes an on-screen map and arrows that guide your experience. There are even up-close photos of some of the objects and features. If you’re looking for a specific area of the museum, exhibits are listed with links, so you can jump right to what you want to see.

San Diego Zoo’s live cams

Although it’d be nice to be in Southern California in person, you can still visit the popular zoo from your couch. The San Diego Zoo offers 11 live cams in different exhibits that broadcast from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily. There are also links to read more about each animal species featured. Coo at koalas dozing in trees, or feel the joy of elephants playing with massive toys.

NASA Langley Research Center’s virtual tour

This user-friendly virtual tour's landing page lets you choose which building on NASA’s research campus to explore. Each building and room comes with a map, photos and videos with commentary to explain what types of experiments and studies are done there. You can go inside the flight simulators in building 1268A by using the 360-degree camera, which is complete with information buttons. Or, go into the subsonic wind tunnel where scientists conduct tests for safe takeoffs and landings in building 1212.

Seattle Art Museum’s Stay at Home with SAM blog

It’s all the fun of an upper west coast museum without the almost-permanent gray skies and rain. The museum's blog features an object of the week (complete with a related DIY project for each), art talks with curators and photo tours of some of Seattle’s natural features, such as the trees in the Olympic Sculpture Park. There are even posts for the Seattle Art Museum book club. This blog is colorful and incredibly detailed in the descriptions of its exhibits and related art history. Plus, the blog's tags make it easy to navigate.


Sistine Chapel’s virtual tour

Here, you don’t have to crane your neck to look up at Michelangelo's ceiling masterpiece. Just use your mouse to click and drag around the Sistine Chapel. You can even use the zoom feature to get a closer look at the high ceiling, too. Explore every painted figure and get lost in the details.

Great Wall of China’s virtual tour

Marvel at the cobbled architecture of the Great Wall of China, and travel across several of its sections without getting tired. Not only does this tour let you “walk” across different sections and through the different watchtowers of one of history’s greatest architectural feats, it also offers a beautiful view of the Chinese countryside. This includes sunsets on vast hills and snow in the mountains.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s virtual tours and performances

Put on your ruffled collar and brush up on your English 101. The 360-degree view of the massive Globe Theatre in London includes links to photos and videos from past shows, as well as descriptions of each location and detail within the theater. There are also sound bites from previous shows to listen to as you scroll through your tour. If this tour isn’t immersive enough for you, you can also watch free YouTube Premieres videos of their shows. The show selection rotates every two weeks, and up next is 2018’s production of “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” which starts streaming on May 4.

Still yearning for more online art and exhibitions? Check out Google Arts & Culture. Google has partnered with numerous art museums and exhibits all over the world to bring interactive exhibits and experiences directly to users everywhere. See Opéra National de Paris in 360-degree video, get a street view of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, go on a musical tour of Museum Dolores Olmedo in Mexico City or see what your selfies would look like as a classic painting.

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