Updated: Dec 18, 2020
Apparently, virtual museum tours and field trips have been around for years, but I never even thought about visiting online. I’m pretty lucky to have access to some world-class museums close by, so I haven’t really felt the need to explore what’s out there online. With COVID, I have missed the feel of walking into museums and seeing the incredible pieces hanging right in front of me. While it’s not exactly the same, I’m grateful to have learned about some incredible virtual tours that museums and galleries across the world have shared with us...including a lot of activities specifically designed for kids these days. Here are a few of my favorites to visit online.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is one of my favorite museums in the entire world. The museum has a bit of everything and is typically very kid-friendly. I’m excited to see that their virtual activities certainly don’t disappoint. “Met Kids” is their website designed for kids by kids, which is user friendly, interactive, and filled with nearly as much awe-inspiring joy as a trip to New York. Kids can view art throughout the museum using the “map” tab, or search by time period, continent, or themes in the “Time Machine” section. There are also videos of kids discussing everything from suits of armor to paper folding. This site is almost as good as visiting!
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is also a “must visit” when we are able to travel again. Where else can you see the artist’s full story laid out sequentially through hundreds of his paintings? The museum now has a dedicated page just for kids to explore, create their own art and game, and learn more about Van Gogh.
Did you know that there are 19 Smithsonian museums, galleries, gardens, and a zoo? Whatever your kid is into, you can probably find something related to it at one of the Smithsonian museums! Several of them have virtual tours posted on their websites. While these are set up like more “traditional” virtual tours, most museums offer something different and exciting. From time to time, they will host scavenger hunts. So find the ones your family is most into and follow them on social media to stay on top of upcoming events.
The Musee du Louvre in Paris has a robust collection with over 35,000 works of art inside it’s building of more than 650,000 square feet. The building itself is incredible. I wasn’t able to find any virtual activities specific for kids, but even so, kids would love this museum! The Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and huge collection of Egyptian artifacts will engage any art lover. Another fun tip - have your kid look at the extensive map and guide where to go next!
Local Museums. Towns across the world have impressive local museums (often with attached gardens) that are perfect for a family outing to introduce kids to different types of art. These museums may also have online presence to keep the community together. Check out your local museum’s website to see what they are offering.
Here is one of my favorites:
Fort Worth has several great local museums including one focusing on Modern Art, but the stand out is The Kimbell Art Museum. They both have virtual tours of their world-class collection and downloadable family activities your kid is sure to love.
College and University Museums. Many larger colleges and universities have museums associated with them. Often less overwhelming than the vast museums like The Met and Louvre, they can be perfect for kids who are learning about various types of art. Check out your local college to see what they have to offer virtually, and then visit in person to explore what they do in person. Often, docents in these smaller museums welcome kids and are excited to share what they know with families.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
Stanford University Cantor Arts Center : Offering Virtual Tours including the extensive Rodin collection
University of Texas Blanton Museum of Art : Offering Virtual Tours and Events
What are your favorite local museums?