From One Museum Lover to Another: How to Visit Museums During the Pandemic – Manpreet (India)

From a very young age, I have been in love with museums. That probably stemmed from this very small handicraft store near my neighborhood. The dingy, old building and the old caretaker were something people would pass by every day, but his stories and tales about each and every piece that was in his shop is something he told to whoever lingered near the store. After that, I visited my first museum and it has been an ongoing affair ever since.

Caption: Indian National Museum. Kolkata: My first doors to the wonder that are museums. Photo credit: Outlook India

But the pandemic has hit us hard. With the world on lockdown and everybody resorting to online classes and events, it has led to very few opportunities to go and visit a museum or gallery. However ever since I saw that there are groups organizing city tours virtually, I knew there had to be virtual tours available for museums, too. It did take me some time to find and go through the list of what I wanted to see but the process has been so worth it.

Photo credit: inexibit.com

This museum has been on my list ever since I learned that it holds the best collections of Indian miniatures hailing from the mid-16th century. Since traveling is impossible for now, I looked up if the museum had a virtual tour, and lo and behold, they did. Yes, I am a nerd and yes, I spend hours looking at their collections. The easy access, classification, and whizzing through the virtual ages is not only fun but something that can only be enjoyed at the comfort of our homes.

Photo credit: Louvre

The Louvre is probably the most iconic museum in the world with its stunning architecture and the collection it boasts. When I first read about the Louvre, I knew that this is a must-visit not because of the Mona Lisa but for the collections, it boasts other than that. The virtual tours are by exhibitions and though it is not something that famous, the topics explored and the information given are just as eye-catching as anything else in the museum, like the Founding Myths exhibition, which shows us what history could have been when relieved in present times.

Photo credit: museu.ms

Yes, it is an unlikely choice for someone who is an agnostic but as someone who loves history and conspiracy theories, the Vatican Museum is actually a perfect place to enjoy the artworks and collections of ancient masters. The unique part of their virtual tours includes everything that comes under the Vatican Museums along with the famous areas in the vicinity of the Museums.

Photo credit: washington.org

Probably its most famous wing, the Smithsonian is known for its collections in Natural History and as someone who enjoyed watching Night at the Museum, I had to look if they did have a virtual tour and their tour is not only amazing but extensive. With the halls labeled out and information that only intrigues one further, this is a definite virtual visit if one wishes to sit back and enjoy a day in a museum. 

I can honestly go on and on about all the virtual museum tours that I have found ever since we have gone under lockdown but then this would be a long, long, long list. However, anyone can look up and follow whatever museum or collection that they are interested to see. For me, Google Arts and Culture came in handy when I wished to see collections not just limited to a certain artist or museum. They also have partnered with several museums to showcase virtual exhibitions and collections and they are just as easy to navigate, with precise information and beautiful imagery.

To finish off, for me, museums have always been this treasure trove of all that the past has left behind for us to safeguard, learn from, and once in a while, to just enjoy the tranquility of all things beautiful as well as macabre at the same time and if we are lucky enough, in the same place as possible.