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Due to Covid-19, the world has closed its doors – and so have museums. Whether talking to a friend about an afternoon at the local gallery or traveling a whole week abroad to meet famous museums around the world are no longer possible pastimes anymore.

Despite some museums are now reopening to public at scheduled hours, in order to avoid agglomerations, many of us are not feeling comfortable to leave our homes just yet. But – as you probably know by now – that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the pleasures of admiring art pieces or historic objects. Even before Covid-19, some museums offered online tours, and since the pandemic started a great amount of galleries has done the same.

However, you may still be reluctant to adopt the on-line format, especially if you were used to visiting museums on-sight. If that’s your case: don’t worry! This article contains five tips to help you get the most of your experience at an on-line tour!

1. Choose well

Among so many options, it might be difficult to choose which tour to take. The easiest way is deciding what kind of collection you want to visit, and then looking for museums that fit. To help you with that part, here are some ideas of themes and galleries you may like (and they are all free!):

Art

[bf_image id="qeyizf-epf100-bpo8j5"] MASP, São Paulo: walk through the galleries and see the glass easels of Lina Bo Bardi. You may explore a great collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs and others. The museum also has a weekly agenda of events, such as lives with curators.

National Gallery, London: choose one of the five rooms and explore the gallery in a 360° ambience simulation. By clicking on the pieces you can get more information about them.

Tokyo National Museum: the archive counts with art and antiquities from the Japanese history, as well as other Asian countries. In addition to being able to see items on fabric, metal, china and clay, you can explore the building of the museum.

Architecture

The Royal Castle, Warsaw: this online tour gives you the chance of explore the ambiences and furniture of the former home of the royal family of Poland.

Pinacoteca, São Paulo: although it has a vast artistic archive, the Pinacoteca’s building itself worths the visit. You can walk through the construction in a 360° ambience simulation, and also see the exposed items.

Photography

LIFE Photo Collection: the archive contains over four million items from the LIFE magazine. If you enjoy photojournalism, you are probably going to love this collection.

History / Nature

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC: the museum counts with a vast archive that represents the Earth’s physical, cultural and biological diversity. You can walk through the museum in a 360° simulation, or explore different collections separated by its origins.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey: choose which aquarium you want to see, then click on it to watch what is happening right now, thanks to live cameras broadcasting everything. You can explore multiple species, such as sea otters, jelly-fishes and even sharks.

Natural History Museum, London: visit the galleries in a 360° ambience simulation or explore each item by clicking on them. You can see skeletons of dinosaurs, fossils and even creatures from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Bonus: Children

Road Dahl Museum and Story Centre: if you have kids at home, that’s a very nice option of entertainment for the whole family! Besides being able to learn more about the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Fabric, the museum page has some ideas of fun indoor activities.

You can also visit the website of your favorite gallery and see if they offer on-line tours or check in Google Arts and Culture for more museums with virtual visits available.

2. Do your homework

When you visit a museum in person, you probably take some time to learn more about the history of the city, the artists, and their works. That is part of the experience of visiting a gallery, and allows you to take the most of your experience. If you are taking an on-line tour, that part of research should be included as well.

Once you’ve decided what tour you’re taking, and before you actually get started, take some time to learn about the museum or gallery and – why not? – the city where it is located. That’s a great way to get to know more about other places without traveling. Also, if something gets your attention during your online tour, do some research to learn about its story too.

3. Set the climate

People who love museums usually enjoy the whole experience – not only admiring/interacting with the exposed items, but also taking pictures, making sketches, having a coffee at the museum cafeteria, and even purchasing a souvenir from their shop. And if you think these things are impossible on the on-line format, you are way wrong! There are many ways you can recreate the atmosphere of a museum or gallery, even if you’re taking a tour from your couch.

First of all, make sure to reserve some time to make your visit – don’t multitask! There might be a lot of things around you that may distract you, so, if you can, try to go to a quiet place to take your tour, so you can focus on it. And certify that you won’t be interrupted. If you are used to registering moments with pictures or sketches, why not do it on online visits? You can take prints of your favorite items or make quick sketches that will allow you to remember and intensify your experience.

You should also go big! Although most online tours work well on smartphones and computers, one thing you can do to enrich your experience is connecting your device to the TV. That way, you can use your fingers or mouse to explore the platform but will be able to see it in bigger dimensions. It will allow you to see more details and enjoy your tour even more.

After your tour, make sure to have an especial closure moment. You can make yourself some coffee or tea or enjoy your favorite treat, as if you were at the museum cafeteria – with the bonus that you won’t have to pay as much as if you were there. Meanwhile, you can go through all the prints and sketches you made during your tour. Also, check if the museum you visited has an on-line shop, and if it ships to your country. If they don’t, a nice option is searching on-line for something that will remind you of your tour – it may be a copy of a painting or a miniature.

4. Embrace the new

Even if you follow the tips above, you should keep in mind that on-line tours will never be identical to on-sight ones – and that’s ok! Each format has its pros and cons. Relax and try to enjoy your experience, without expecting it to be exactly like the museum visits you used to make before Covid-19. You will certainly have fun!

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The article above was edited by Nicole Leslie.

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I’m a writer and Journalism student at Cásper Líbero. Besides writing and reading, I’m fascinated by culture, arts and wellness.
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