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Welcome to The New Virtual Era: How to Keep Up with Culture in Isolation

Vincent van gogh, museums

Photo: Stale Grut/Unsplash

Change is hard for most of us, never mind when it has been enforced without choice due to a global pandemic. However isolation doesn’t have to come at the cost of culture, it simply means we need to find new ways of interacting. Nobody could have predicted (aside from Bill Gates perhaps) all that has changed for the world in the last few weeks, however, if anything positive is to come from this, it will be the powerful cultural shift enforced as we springboard into a virtual era.

As part of a three-part series, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to keep yourself stimulated and connected. The first part of the series explores some of the most fascinating virtual gallery tours to explore, all without leaving your screen. Welcome to a new virtual world, and of finding new ways of learning and existing in these trying times.


The Paris museum has devised a novel program during its closure. “A week at Orsay” invites one artist, every day, for a week to choose a work and provide a new way to look at it. Last week saw Julian Schnabel explore impressionist works from Van Gogh to Gauguin. Meanwhile, the program “Un oeuvre, un regard,” offers a weekly video of a creative discussing a work from the collection.


The New York museum has provided multiple experiences for its viewers. One of which is a photo and audio tour of the building structure, history, and design. They also have a Guggenheim digital guide, an archive of interviews with staff for close looks at the works and museum, and interviews with contemporary artists previously featured.


The Met Institution has provided a virtual tour of its iconic spaces, with access to installations and exhibitions including ‘The British Galleries’ and ‘Gerhard Richter: Painting After All’, as well as a blog featuring voices throughout the museum responding to current moments and events. 


On the interactive platform, viewers can view exhibitions and stories online. Each museum is introduced with a brief history, and one can find google maps tours of the grounds, descriptions of artists and works, and even a chronological timeline of pieces in the museum.

The following are only some of the museums available:

Musee d’Orsay
British Museum London
Château de Versailles
Biennale of Sydney


In a one-take video on YouTube, you can tour the entirety of the second largest museum in the world. The five-hour, 20-minute journey explores three million pieces, including the works of Dutch artist Rembrandt.


The world-famous Parisian museum offers three virtual tours — ranging from the pharaonic period collections from Egypt to exploring the moat that originally served as the perimeter to the fortress of King Phillippe Auguste.


The Smithsonian Museums have a vast collection of virtual tours online, showing current and past exhibits with history, information, and educational tools for every section. This can be found for the National Museum of Natural History, Hirshhorn, and Smithsonian Castle.

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