With the rise of innovative video and digital technology, many of the world’s most prestigious museums are now able to offer online visitors an insight into their collections and exhibits. We’ve collated a number of fascinating digital displays for adult aficionados of science, culture and history, as well as curious children learning remotely – both within and outside our European destinations.
The British Museum
A visit to the British Museum is considered a rite of passage for both locals and visitors to London. This colossal public institution is located in Bloomsbury, just minutes from Brown’s Hotel, and has one of the largest, most comprehensive permanent collections of works and artefacts related to human history, art and culture in the world. Needless to say, the sheer volume of objects contained inside its walls is too vast to digitalise in its entirety, but this fantastic interactive timeline of the world allows visitors to scroll through millennia, segmented by region, and admire the cultures and movements that defined eras.
This collection of buildings in Rome’s city-state houses over 70,000 artworks and artefacts from across the centuries and draws millions of visitors annually. While viewing it digitally will never instil quite the same sense of awe felt by stepping into its hallowed halls in person, these 360-degree tours encompassing seven sections of its 5.5 hectares offer a fascinating taster to inspire future visits. Admire Michelangelo’s legendary frescos, Raphael’s Rooms and the incredible statues housed in the vaulted New Wing, and see them in person during your next stay with Hotel de la Ville or Hotel de Russie.
The National Museum of Scotland
A mere five-minute walk from The Balmoral, Scotland’s The National Museum is an eclectic and exciting journey through history. From ancient Egyptian mummies to Scottish archaeological finds and medieval objects (notably including the Scottish Maiden), the stuffed body of Dolly the first successfully cloned sheep to Elton John’s most extravagant outfits, it’s got something to delight even the most obscure of passions. Explore its collections on Google Arts and Culture or for more in-depth insight into particular subjects, introduce children to its invaluable games, stories, films and resources section ahead of your next visit to the capital.
Founder of St. Petersburg, Peter the Great was a fascinating character by any account, and this is clearly reflected in his Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. The word Kunstkamera means “chamber of art”, yet this hardly begins to encapsulate the museum’s eclectic treasures. A collection of over 1,000,000 items – some more suited to adults and older children – it includes in-depth studies of cultures ranging from Siberia to South America brought back by various explorers, striking examples of Imperial furniture, yet also anatomical specimens, stuffed animals and even model ships. Venture in through your computer with its 3D online tour, and download the mobile app to enjoy accompanying details, audio-stories and more. Just across the bridge from Hotel Astoria, it merits a trip in-person on your next visit.
Elsewhere in the world, don’t miss…
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Dedicated to charting and illuminating the story of the planet and man’s role in shaping it, this vast Washington museum is home to everything from a fossilised tyrannosaurus rex and Egyptian mummies to the Hope Diamond. Its Google Street View-style exhibitions allow parents and children to traverse its grand halls and marvel at displays, which are accompanied by key information. Its useful navigation system makes finding the sections most relevant to your interests or your child’s curriculum simple, and its accompanying app includes fun podcasts, themed games and virtual exhibits to access on your phone.
Although its primarily known as the world’s largest art museum and the home of paintings including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Louvre’s collection of Egyptian objects is just as fascinating. Explore it online through this click-to-walk tour and simply select an object as you pass it to bring up detailed information about its origins and significance. Also available is a virtual tour of the Louvre’s moat, which offers a glimpse back in time to the building’s origins when it was a fortress built by King Philippe Auguste to reinforce defences on the Seine.
NASA Centers and Facilities
While not technically a museum, NASA’s online tours are comprehensive, sophisticated and well worth a virtual trip. Embark upon a behind-the-scenes look inside testing areas across its Virginia and Ohio sites with an online tour of 16 locations, including the Flight Research Hangar, and a virtual tour that explores key hubs such as the Zero Gravity Research Facility. For a more in-depth look at space-related artefacts, including the Sokol spacesuit, and to show children what astronauts eat in the cosmos, pair the NASA tours with a browse through the Science Museum Group’s online collections.