Museums behind a Screen

While some public art galleries have begun opening their doors to the general public, the risks of COVID-19 are still prevalent in the minds of many. Fortunately, many major art museums have opened up their collections virtually, using a variety of methods from online tours to immersive videos.

The Louvre, Paris

The Louvre is known around the globe as one of the world’s largest museums, as well as an iconic Parisian historical icon. The famous pyramid art gallery has made a free, interactive version of the museum, accessible on their website. The virtual tour allows for a 360-degree view of various museum floors and exhibits, with brief descriptions for every piece. Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” is also available to enjoy through virtual reality on the museum’s mobile application, “Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass,” which is available on both Google Play and the App store.

Museum of Modern Art, New York City

The Museum of Modern Art, also known by its acronym MoMA, is completely devoted to art of the modern and contemporary eras. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, an online platform with artworks and artifacts from some of the world’s most renowned museums, you can now “walk” the various exhibits and floors of this extraordinary gallery on any device, free of charge. The gallery boasts pieces from some of modern art’s most famous names, from Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” to Henri Rousseau’s “The Dream” and Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”. The museum is also hosting Virtual Views, which are free Youtube live streams on select Thursdays where curators take the best of MoMA’s collections and share them to the public. 



The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Boasting of works from the Ancient Greek times to the art of the 21st Century, the J. Paul Getty Museum north of Los Angeles is less than an hour drive away from Diamond Bar. While the museum remains closed, select categories and exhibits, such as European Sculptures and Decorative Arts, French Tapestries and European Paintings, are now available on Google Arts & Culture. Also, included on the Getty website are online versions of various art collections and behind-the-scenes content such as a virtual model of the luxurious Villa dei Papiri, with interactive three-dimensional designs and explanations and history of the villa.

The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

The Hammer Museum, located just down the street from UCLA, is home to impressive collections of art of a variety of styles. Some famous pieces currently in the museum’s possession include Picasso’s “Le repas frugal,” van Gogh’s “Hospital at Saint-Rémy” and Redon’s “Profile of Light.” The art gallery offers virtual resources like digital archives, Youtube livestream Q&As, and virtual meditation sessions via a video-communication service. Most programs are free, but all require a reservation, which can be made on the museum’s website.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as the Met, home of a collection of more than two million works of art, is now available to be visited online through a virtual group tour package. For the youth group tours, the Met is charging a flat group fee of $75 for a 45-minute online tour of their collection, limited to 40 people per reservation. Here, one can see some of the Met’s most iconic artworks such as “The Harvesters” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and “The Unicorn is Attacked,” part of the Unicorn Tapestries in the Cloisters collection, where the Met’s medieval art is displayed. There are also free virtual Zoom classes, led by museum professionals, offered to high school students looking to explore artistic outlets, with everything from career workshops to virtual introduction to fashion design lessons. Anyone who is interested can access the classes by registering for a Zoom link via the Met’s website.

The Vatican Museum, Vatican City

The Vatican Museum, located in Vatican City, has exhibits containing various collections and works acquired by the Catholic Church over centuries-long history. On its website, the museum offers seven different immersive virtual tours, which include some of their most sought out and famous attractions like Raphael’s Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. The free virtual tours are also available in VR mode.