Our favourite virtual tours and collections this week

Published 30 April 2020

This week we take a look at some of the most extensive virtual tours and online museum collections you can explore right now – plus, some crafty and creative projects to try...

It’s been inspiring to see so many people engaging with museums and galleries from home.

As more and more culture lovers flock to see what museums and galleries are doing digitally, online experiences like virtual tours and collections are helping to keep art accessible to all, and providing some much-needed creative energy in challenging times.

Here are some of our favourite digital tours and collections on offer from museums across the UK, to keep you connected with art.

In focus: British Museum from home

The world’s oldest national public museum, the British Museum has a staggering 11 ways you can engage from home.

With the added benefit of visiting this popular culture haunt when it’s blissfully quiet, you can take a virtual tour of the museum through Google Street View, where you can visit over 60 rooms or create your own bespoke tour.

You can also step into a range of virtual galleries via the museum’s own website, peruse over 8 million objects in the online collection, explore more content - such as an artefact hunt and past exhibitions - through the Google Arts and Culture hub, and tune in for an audio tour for expert insights into the collections. We’d recommend Desire, Love, Identity, narrated by renowned actors Simon Russell Beale and Fiona Shaw, which explores LGBTQ histories in the collection, focusing on untold love stories in art.

See what you can learn about this British fortress of culture, connecting you with art around the world.

More online collections and virtual tours to explore

Pitt Rivers Museum from home

We’d also recommend a virtual trip to the academic city of Oxford to explore the halls of the historic Pitt Rivers Museum, home to dizzying archaeological and anthropological collections. Here you can enjoy a virtual tour and extensive assortments of objects, photographs and manuscripts online. Wandering through the maze of glass cabinets and unusual artefacts is a particular highlight.

National Galleries of Scotland online collection

Or, on a digital journey to Scotland’s charming, hilly capital of Edinburgh, you can peruse the online collections of the National Galleries of Scotland, where over 97,000 works of art span the Renaissance to the present day. The collection includes works by French bohemian artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, pop art pioneer Andy Warhol and modern master Pablo Picasso, among many others.

Explore the Courtauld online

And for an extra treat, at London’s Courtauld Gallery you can browse their world-famous collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including works by Cézanne, Manet and Van Gogh, in high definition. You can even zoom in to see brushstrokes up close, as detailed and defined as you might see them when visiting in person.

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We’ve been so inspired by the different ways museums across the UK have been engaging people with creativity.

Among our favourites is the V&A’s Wednesday lockdown design day to encourage a new generation of designers. The day includes activities and challenges for children inspired by objects in the collection. The museum kicked off the initiative with a breakfast-inspired dress worn by Dame Edna Everage, for those who want to express themselves through sausage, egg and chips. Follow #LetsMakeWednesday on Twitter and Facebook to get in on the action.

There’s an arts and crafts revolution happening across social media, with multiple accounts and hashtags to follow for creative ideas on getting arty. Check out @isolationartclub for weekend prompts to get you making art.

And hold 30 April in your diaries, when the BBC, in partnership with us here at Art Fund, will be bringing you #MuseumFromHome: a day of content from museums, galleries and archives across the UK with things to watch and do at home.

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