Are you an educator? A wannabe Jeff Goldblum a la Jurassic Park itching to prove that life, uh, finds a way? Perhaps you’re simply someone with a thirst for wisdom.
Any way you slice it, museums are a treasure trove of knowledge. Unfortunately, some of the best museums are scattered all around the world, out of reach for most. Thanks to the Internet, you can satiate your curiosity with online virtual tours. It may not be as good as the real thing, but you can’t beat visiting some of the world’s most famous museums from the comfort of your living room. Are you ready to avoid the crowds and skip waiting times?
1. The Louvre
Even if you don’t know where The Louvre is on a map, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard of it. And for good reason! The Louvre in France is one of the most famous and renowned museums on the face of the Earth. You may not always “have Paris,” but you can check out a virtual tour of the Louvre. The tour is complete with 360-degree views and pop up bubbles that give you further info on the artifacts on display. While you can’t tour the entire museum, some of the Louvre’s most popular exhibits are available online. At the time of this writing, there are three exhibits available including the ever-popular Egyptian Antiquities exhibit.
2. National Women’s History Museum
It’s unfortunate but true — many of the accomplishments made by women have been glossed over in history books. The National Women’s History Museum is an American organization seeking to change that. As a result the museum’s mission is simple: celebrate how awesome women are by recognizing their achievements. Since 1996, the NWHM has been collecting and exhibiting “contributions of women to the social, cultural, economic and political life of our nation in a context of world history.”
The NWHM doesn’t have a “virtual tour” in the sense that you can wander its halls with the click of a mouse. Instead, the NWHM website is home to a ton of informative multimedia exhibits. The subject matter of the exhibits is incredibly varied, with everything from women in Congress to female spies throughout history.
3. The Oriental Institute Museum
The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum showcases art and other archaeological finds of ancient civilizations from the Near East. The museum is home to permanent galleries featuring artifacts from ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and Megiddo.
The Oriental Institute Museum is dedicated to understanding the development of these ancient civilizations through ongoing research. As a result, visitors enjoy the latest finds from current excavations. What’s even better is that you don’t have to fly to the Windy City to enjoy these finds. Thanks to the 360-degree interactive tour, users can peruse antiquities from these regions and learn more about the history of these ancient civilizations.
4. The Spy Museum
This popular Washington D.C. museum is dedicated to all things espionage. Just don’t expect to see any silly James Bond-esque gadgets. Instead, visitors can delve into the history of real-life international espionage. The Spy Museum is home to numerous objects used by international intelligence services. These include cipher machines, counterfeit currency, disguised weapons, miniature cameras, radio transmitters and receivers, and dead drops. In addition, several of the exhibits are related to specific espionage cases and historic figures.
The museum has a comprehensive 360-degree self-guided virtual tour. In addition, the Spy Museum has a number of exhibits available online. These include a glimpse into the life of a double agent and an examination into how close to reality FX’s critically acclaimed show The Americans really is.
5. National Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex. With nineteen museums, gardens and zoos, you better believe they know how to curate interesting exhibits. The National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, may be the Smithsonian Institution’s crown jewel, as it is one of the most popular museums in the entire world. According to the Global Attractions Attendance report, it is the third most visited museum in the world, the most visited natural history museum in the world, and the most visited museum in North America.
The museum boasts over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, human remains, rocks, minerals and cultural artifacts. While you won’t be able to see them all, you can browse some of the museum’s permanent exhibits. In addition, the virtual tour also offers select past exhibits and various research facilities like the butterfly habitat and the whale bone support center.
In conclusion, virtual tours might not be as good as the real thing, but they can be a useful tool to garner more information. Many museums around the world offer virtual tours, so be sure to check the website of your favorite to see if they offer one.
Finally, we’d like to know if you’ve ever been on a “virtual” museum tour. Did we leave your favorite off the list? Let us know in the comments.