7 Virtual Museum Experiences that Preserve Local Culture
Photo: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
With careful documentation and artifact preservation, a culture can be recorded and remembered regardless of its future. It can also be shared and understood by those from different cultural backgrounds. While you wait to go back to discovering the world’s cultures, here are seven museums you can virtually visit from home.
The iconic Dutch national museum has re-opened its doors a few years ago after a decade-long renovation, now presenting its world-famous collection in a whole new way. Journey through Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, as told by a plethora of paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, silver, porcelain, delftware, furniture, jewelry and costumes. To bring all of this into the 21st century, you can now visit the museum via an online platform called Rijksmuseum Masterpieces Up Close. With the latest high-resolution 360-degree images, highlight stories as well as detailed photos, you’ll almost feel like you’re walking around the museum with a multimedia guided tour.
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Known as the second-largest art museum of the world, the Hermitage Museum is home to a collection of nearly three million items, including the largest painting collection in the world. There is not enough time in a day to view the Hermitage’s whole collection, which includes masterpieces by Da Vinci, Picasso and Rembrandt (it could take up to 11 years to examine every single exhibit!). For now, we suggest you experience the Hermitage through this cinematic journey, taking in 45 galleries, 588 masterpieces, and live performances shot in high definition.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of Natural History, one of the most visited museums in the world, offers a peek at its wonderful treasures with an online virtual tour of its entire grounds. Viewers are welcomed into its rotunda and are greeted with a comprehensive room-by-room, 360-degree walking tour of all its exceptional exhibits, including the Hall of Mammals, Insect Zoo, and Dinosaurs and Hall of Paleobiology. Visit the National Museum of Natural History blog to find seven ways you can also explore their online offerings from home.
Vatican Museums, Vatican City
These museums aim to conserve the immense collection of art – one of the most extensive in the world – amassed by the popes from the 17th century until today, displayed in miles of corridors connecting buildings and courtyards of the state-city. And with this virtual tour, you can skip the waiting lines and experience seven popular Vatican sites for yourself directly from home, including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms, and more.
Musée des Instruments de Musique (MIM), Brussels
Housed in a beautifully renovated, Art Nouveau building that was formerly a department store, the MIM is showcasing and preserving Belgian musical history through a collection of some 6,000 musical instruments ranging from mechanical to traditional and modern, including the famous Rottenburgh Alto recorder. For an inside view of the museum, watch this episode of Music Makers hosted by well-known pianist, Scott Houston.
National Women’s History Museum, Alexandria
The National Women’s History Museum in Alexandria, Virginia, strives to educate, inspire, empower, and shape the future “by integrating women’s distinctive history and culture in the United States.” Part of that mission is delivered through well-curated online exhibits and oral histories. And in response to COVID-19, the museum will be presenting new virtual content every day based on weekly themes. Each day, the NWHM@Home programs provided will reflect the theme in some way, such as by highlighting specific women, movements or eras.
Museo Larco, Lima
Located in a vice-royal 18th-century colonial mansion in the historic center of Lima, this privately owned museum showcases 3,000 years of pre-Columbian and Peruvian history. It is a must for anyone who travels to Peru to discover its culture and history. The space is divided into eight elegantly appointed exhibit areas that house over 45,000 objects. One of the main areas is the Cultural Hall, in which all cultural eras of the country, from pre-Columbian times right up to the Spanish conquest, have a dedicated section. The museum offers an unforgettable opportunity to learn Peru’s fascinating history before embarking on a journey to Machu Picchu or Nazca Lines. You can get a preview of Museo Larco by watching this introduction video.
REPRINTED with permission: By Ensemble Travel Group · May 2020