The world’s a huge place, full of incredible things to see, but sometimes traversing the globe from Muscat to soak up the culture isn’t always easy, or possible.
But now you don’t have to hop on an airplane to see the world’s most amazing art exhibitions, as they are coming to you, right here in the Sultanate.
Here are 13 museums and art galleries that are digitally streaming exhibitions, artwork and historical artefacts straight into your home. Settle down and prepared to be immersed in culture.
British Museum, London
Take a virtual wander through London’s British Museum where you can see a sizeable number of pieces from its huge collection that totals over eight million objects. Kanga: Textiles from Africa, objects from the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum are all available to savour on your laptop or tablet. The museum has also teamed up with the Google Cultural Institute to offer virtual tours using Google Street View technology.
Dali Theatre-Museum, Girona
If you’re a fan of the surrealist Salvador Dalí and love all his melting clocks and bizarre food and animal images, you can now show your family why his works are among the most highly-recognised and revered in the world, without leaving your house. The virtual tour takes you around some of the museum’s rooms and shows you a series of panoramic pictures highlighting a selection of works and objects exhibited there.
Get ready to go to infinity and beyond, while you gather around your laptop on the sofa that is. Enjoy free virtual tours of the NASA Space Centre in Houston, with an animated robot called Audima as your tour guide. He’s quite the comedian, too, which makes it even more engaging for children (and adults).
National Gallery, London
You’ll be transported to the heart of London without leaving your living room. The museum is free to enter, but getting there from the UAE can be on the pricey side. But you can visit the gallery virtually with a number of video tours of current exhibitions of Renaissance masterpieces from Northern Italy, Nertherlands and Germay including works by Titian, Veronese and Holbein
National Gallery of Art, Washington
There is an extensive selection of audio and video recordings of lectures by artists and curators, which are a top way to educate yourself in all things culture. Topics covered include Dutch paintings, Rembrandt, Goltzius and Rubens, plus there are interviews with current artists.
National Women’s History Museum, Virginia
The National Women’s History Museum aims to “educate, inspire, empower and shape the future by integrating women’s distinctive history and culture in the United States.” A good number of exhibitions can be seen online showcasing the role of women in history. Find out all about the part women played in World War II and discover how women’s rights have evolved through history.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington
This is one of the most visited museums in the world, but you don’t have to journey half way across the globe to see the incredible selection of wonderful treasures and antiquities. The museum’s online show arounds give you a detailed tour of the entire grounds as well as a comprehensive room-by-room 360-degree (virtual) walking tour of all its exceptional exhibits, including the hall of mammals, inset zoo and dinosaur hall for budding palaeontologists to learn all about the Jurassic age.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Located on New York’s fifth avenue the Guggenheim showcases some of the world’s finest art, and the building itself is pretty spectacular, too. The museum makes some of its collections and exhibitions available online to give people and students a bit of an insight into what it offers. You can see works by Franz Marc, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Jeff Koons among others.
Tate Gallery, London
Britain’s national gallery of international modern art is located in London in the former Bankside Power Station and is one of the world’s biggest museums of modern and contemporary. So if you’re a budding artist, you may just gain some inspiration from this online experience where you can see collections of art dating between the 1900s and now.
The Louvre, Paris
We are lucky enough to have our very own Louvre here in the UAE, in Abu Dhabi, but if you want to see what the original museum houses then check out its online tours. Expect to see Egyptian antiquities including collections from the Pharaonic period as well as the Galerie d’Apollon where the ceiling pays homage to the Sun King, Louis XIV.
The Third Line, Dubai
This local art gallery in Dubai's Al Quoz has introduced an online viewing room where art aficionados looking for their art fix can enjoy the work, provided they’ve got Wifi and a device of some kind. The online viewing room, in conjunction with Art Basel, features an exhibition of works by artists Jordan Nassar and Rana Begum. All you need to do is create an Art Basel profile on its website and then click on the Third Line’s page.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
If you’re intrigued by the Dutch post-impressionist painter, then this museum is for you. Dedicated to the work of Van Gogh, it houses more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 750 personal letters, which should keep you busy for a while.
Vatican Museums, Vatican City
If you’ve always wanted to visit Venice (and not just for the pizza and pasta) then you can, without having to travel there. Wih this online museum tour you’ll get to see some of the most stunning architecture and art ever created. The Vatican Museums are the public art and sculpture museums in the Vatican City and through the online platform, you can enjoy virtual entry to a selection of these iconic buildings including the Sistine Chapel, the Chiaramonti Museum and Pio Clementino Museum. Molto benne.
Want to see more? Google has partnered with more than 60 museums and galleries around the world to archive and document priceless pieces of art and to provide virtual tours of museums using Google Street View technology. The website features fine art from the White House, kimonos from 18th century Japan and jewellery from 500BC.
For more art and culture and things to do in Dubai, click here. For Abu Dhabi, click here. For Sharjah, click here.