When visiting a museum in real life is difficult, you can still spend time looking at art online with free virtual art museum walk throughs. Check out this great list of 12 art museums who offer free virtual tours.
If you believe we are made in the image of God and He is the Creator of all things, then you understand that creativity is part of who we are a humans.
While our creativity may have different focuses, learning about art by visiting museums can help bring each of us a dose inspiration. Plus, as we study the different types of art, we can consider the creativity of God.
If you have not visited a museum in a while or want your children to have a similar experience but cannot travel to the museum, take a virtual tour through an art museum for free.
Free Virtual Art Museum Walk Throughs
Whether you are a student or just an art enthusiast, many museums are adapting to a post-pandemic society and making their exhibitions available through virtual tours. Many museums offer walk throughs using Google Earth while others are experimenting with augmented reality. (A special app may be required for viewing with augmented reality.)
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Virtually walk through the halls of the Musée d’Orsay using the available Google Street View or choose to view the paintings by collection. This museum features art between 1848 and 1914, including several paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas. View the museum.
Louvre Museum, Paris
While many museums are using Google Arts & Culture, Louvre has invested in a different virtual touring software (which I personally found easier to navigate than many others.) Just take note that while the art descriptions on the wall are provided in both French and English, the info bubbles for each piece seem to be only available in French. View the museum.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum is home to the largest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh including over 200 paintings. Four virtual tours of the museum are available for free, one tour of each floor of the museum. You can also view the art by collection (based on the material used,) popularity, time, and color. When you click to view an individual painting, you can also view the paintings using the designated app and augmented reality. Visit the museum.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
In collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, the Met offers a free walkthrough tour as well as stories on art in fashion and music. Click to view the available pieces and get in depth details about the art. Some of the pictures can even be downloaded. Visit the museum.
Museum of the World, a collaborative project of the British Museum and Google Arts & Culture
Navigate a timeline using the point and click of your computer mouse to explore artifacts from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Click on a specific artifact and learn more about the item, including a map, related objects, and an educational audio. Visit the museum.
Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
The Mori Art Museum has a unique virtual museum walk through available for free. Begin in the museum’s lobby or point and click your way through the various exhibits including artificial intelligence and robotics. You can even view the museum in virtual reality using an Oculus headset. Visit the museum.
The Vatican Museum, Vatican City
Featuring a 360 degree virtual tour of the Sistene Chapel, The Vatican Museum offers thirteen additional free virtual walk throughs. View the work of Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Bernini. Visit the museum.
Solomon Guggenheim, New York
Using Google Earth, walk through the Guggenheim in New York City, New York and view the contemporary art housed within. To begin the tour, click on the Google Earth street view icon on the right side of the page.) See exhibits up close by clicking on the small pop up boxes that will appear on the left-bottom portion of the screen. (Note: Not all exhibits inside the museum have this feature.) Visit the museum.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
With a focus on art from the 21st century, the J. Paul Getty Museum features the photography of Julia Margaret Cameron and Ogawa Kazumasa as well as art in the rococo style. Since this online museum tour is hosted by Google, you can organize the exhibits by popularity, timeline, and color. You can also click to view the individual pieces in augmented reality. View the museum.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
The MMCA has four different locations in Korea with each museum having its own focus. Several virtual museum walk throughs are available for free using Google street view with a sampling from each of the locations. The museum also host two collections from Yoo Youngkuk, a pioneer in Korean art. Visit the museum.
The Rijksmuseum offers several online exhibits and features the works of Jan Luyken, the Dutch poet and illustrator, as well as works by Vermeer and Rembrandt. Either different virtual tours are available with one for each floor of the museum. You can also click to organize the paintings and sculptures by popularity, time, and color. Visit the museum.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Also available in the Google Arts & Culture collection, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston offers a diverse collection of art from the prehistoric era to modern times. One free virtual tour is available. Visit the museum.
Other Online Art Museum Tours
Some museums do not have a walk through available online but have an amazing variety of free resources for studying artists and their works.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
While I could not find a walkthrough of the museum on the website, this is my favorite online museum for studying painting. Upon my visit to the website, there was a click-through study on Johannes Vermeer. You can also view the art by choosing what is popular, on a timeline, or by color. Using an app and projector, you can view the painting in its original size right in front of you. View the museum.
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas
Even without a free virtual walk through, these resources available online from the Dallas Museum or Art are extensive. I personally enjoy the diverse collections of art and the way you can view based on type of apparel, climate, motif, object and more. The museum also includes extended information, linking to artist biographies, teaching ideas, and more. View the museum.
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis
Although the Minneapolis Institute of Art does not offer a virtual tour, they do have a video tour, teaching resources, and several ideas for experiencing art at home including video and projects. View the museum.
Other Free Art Museum Resources
Make the most of your free virtual art museum tours with these additional resources:
- National Gallery of Art – If you need a resource for teaching art or just having some artistic family fun, the National Gallery of Art offers several suggestions. You can even enroll in online classes (using EdX) for free.
- Smithsonian Learning Lab – Navigate through collections of art in related subjects at the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Also, if you have never visited their website before, notice there are resources for other subjects too, including science, social studies, and language arts.
- Art History Resources – While a virtual tour is much different from a in person tour of a museum, they have a great post about preparing for your visit that could be adapted to apply to only museum visits.