< Back to blog

The world is virtually at your fingertips Posted On 25 March 2020

If you think your chances of an Easter trip to Paris to see the treasures of the Louvre have been scuppered by the coronavirus lockdown, you’re wrong.

Similarly, if you’ve always wanted to visit the world-famous Smithsonian in Washington but have never found the time, well, now you can… and you won’t have to break any quarantine restrictions to do so.

Because a steadily increasing number of cultural institutions and zoos around the world are allowing millions of visitors though their ‘doors’ thanks to the wonder of virtual reality.

Over the years, more than a thousand museums have become part of the VR revolution, allowing at least part of their vast collections to become accessible online, with the same technology which powers Google Street View allowing you to roam freely among the exhibits.

Of course, not all offer the 360-degree access – it’s a time-consuming, expensive process to film all the angles – but many do offer the panoramic-style virtual tours with the Google Arts & Culture portal giving you the chance to enlarge and examine the minutest details in high resolution with information on each item, which is generally in English.

So, where can you go?
Let’s start with the British Museum, whose objects span some two million years from the dawn of human culture to the present day. Their tour offers 360 views of thousands of artefacts as they appear in the halls of the museum and include curators’ notes and a description of how they were acquired.

What about a quick trip across the Atlantic to the MoMA – the Museum of Modern Art – in New York, or the Smithsonian in Washington? Other world-famous museums to sign up for the Google Arts & Culture portal include the Guggenheim (New York), Uffizi Gallery (Florence), the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), the Getty (Los Angeles), the Van Gogh (Amsterdam) and the Louvre, which may not have the same number of exhibits as others but you do get a virtual tour around the grounds where impressive statues stand impassively.

And self-isolation doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors – in the virtual realm, the world is very much in the palm of your hand or, the very least, on your laptop.

Many zoos now offer live webcam footage of their animals, particularly at feeding time, or you can surround yourself in The Great Outdoors, seeing the natural wonders and tramping the trails of the Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks in the US.

And while Covid-19 has managed to curtail travel to the Far East, nothing can stop you taking a trek along the Great Wall of China.
But for a truly out-of-this-world experience this takes some beating. For the really adventurous, NASA and Google have joined forces to offer a tour of a 3D replica of the Martian surface, as recorded by the Curiosity rover, which is currently being developed.
The Google Arts and Culture portal is at artsandculture.google.com while you will be able to take the Mars tour on nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/mars/marsview

< Back to blog

Connect with us

Recent Posts

Get your property market-ready and looking sharp this Autumn.

With the Stamp Duty Holiday due to end in March, and the time it’s taking for a purchase to go through, get your property market ready today!   When it comes to marketing your property, the first thing buyers look at are the photos. Good photos of your property can have a huge impact on …

Read more...

Rich pickings

It’s time to hit the hedgerows and roadsides for nature’s free feast   We are heading into the season of mellow fruitfulness. It may not seem it in this crazy year, but in what seems like a bat of an eye, we are already into September, a month where we traditionally hang on to summer …

Read more...

Inspirational Books of the 21st Century

  Books help to heal the soul, and at this time, more people than ever are turning to books for comfort…   Just twenty years in, the 21st Century has already gifted us with so many inspirational pieces of literary work, worthy of comment. So we’ve picked five books, of different styles and genres, which …

Read more...

Heads: Wheels of fortune

  The Government’s easing of Stamp Duty has given home-buyers more spending power   When the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a Stamp Duty holiday to enable the homes market to breathe life into the post-lockdown economy, thousands of prospective house buyers must have raised their eyebrows and applauded wildly. It meant an estimated nine out …

Read more...

The conker line

It’s a centuries-old game that’s been in decline, but some people still go bonkers for conkers: They can be roasted. You can pickle, bake or coat them in clear nail varnish, but that’s frowned upon. Yet they are best au naturel, teased out of their prickly green case to be skewered, threaded on to a …

Read more...