Escaping Our Homes Virtually To See Wonders Of The World

Vatican Museums’ virtual tour

Escaping your four walls to experience the world … we all need that right about now.  There are many ways you can do that safely. Please don’t be that person going to the ski slopes with 200 of your fellow shut ins and don’t think that the full parking lot at the beach means no one else had the same idea you did.  Maybe it is best to stay within your property lines.

But staying home doesn’t mean your mind has to stay home.  Here are some ideas on how to break out of your walls, shell, seclusion. 


Add a little culture by visiting some of the greatest museums in the world. The Guardian recently shared a great list of virtual visitations one can make from the comfort of their own home.  Hook up the computer to the 4K TV and take a tour of some of the great artifacts humans have put on display in museums countries and continents away.

  • British Museum, – 
    • The 360-degree view in this virtual tour lets viewers examine  the 3,212 panes of glass in the domed ceiling of the British Museum’s Great Court.  Beyond this magnificent space, viewers can find the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies and other ancient wonders.
  • MASP, São Paulo,
    • The Museu de Arte de São Paulo has one of the broadest historical collections available to view via its virtual gallery platform, spanning from the 14th to 20th centuries. There’s also a temporary retrospective exhibition by Brazilian pop artist Teresinha Soares beside the building’s statement red staircase. The glass and red-beam structure, built in 1968, is worth a look from the outside too, via Google Street View.
  • National Gallery,
    • Home to 2,300 publicly-owned paintings, watercolors, drawings, and other European art from the 13th to the mid-20th century. There are seven exhibition spaces of Renaissance art and the Central Hall to explore in its 360-view virtual touring pages, from portraits to large dramatic altarpieces.
  • Musée d’Orsay,
    • The virtual tour includes an online exhibition charting the history of the building. And over on Tourist Tube there’s a 360-degree view of the magnificent exterior.
  • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea –
    • The virtual tours explore an inspiring mix of print, design, sculpture, photography, new media and other large-scale installations.
  • Rijksmuseum,
    • The interactive tour helps viewers get up close to every brush stroke by Vermeer, Rembrandt and other Dutch masters while exploring the Great Hall and beyond.
  • Natural History Museum, London –
    • Get lost in the corridors and gallery spaces – one treat is Dippy the dino, who despite recently going on tour still makes an appearance in the entrance hall in this interactive online guide.
  • Guggenheim, Bilbao –
    • The interactive tour takes viewers around its collection of postwar American and European painting and sculpture.
  • Vatican Museums, 
    • Don’t forget to look up when exploring the seven spaces in the museum’s virtual tour, to gawp at a series of 360-degree images, including the Sistine Chapel. Wander around the rest of Vatican City with a You Visit tour that takes in Saint Peter’s Basilica and Square, complete with a tour guide narrating each interactive space.
  • J Paul Getty Museum, Los – 
    • Go from neolithic clay figures to Van Gogh’s Irises and Renoir’s La Promenade – just two of many artworks that feature in the virtual tour. Google Arts and Culture offers a “museum view” tool to look inside gallery spaces.
Musee d’Orsay virtual tour screenshot

Revisit favorite vacation settings through books and movies. There have been some great movies that have made us speechless with their settings.  You almost forget there are characters in the shot when the camera puts the environment on display. This may take you doing some rentals or dropping your mind into a book or two. 

  • Leading Irish tour operator CIE Tours has hit “pause” on its guided vacations, but Ireland’s rich literary legacy will keep travelers endlessly inspired until they can visit again. C.S. Lewis based much of his fantasy land in “The Chronicles of Narnia” on County Down’s Mourne Mountains, while James Joyce captured Dublin life in “Ulysses” and “Dubliners.” Film buffs can revel in spectacular Irish scenery in movies from “The Quiet Man,” set in Connemara, to “The Secret of Roan Inish,” filmed in rugged Donegal.
  • Fans of Pebble Beach Resorts and the central California coast will recognize iconic backdrops like Cypress Point and 17 Mile Drive in Hitchcock’s classic thriller “Vertigo.” Both landmarks are also captured, along with shots of Pebble Beach Golf Links and The Lodge at Pebble Beach, in the original “Parent Trap” (1961). Binge-watch both seasons of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” for familiar sights of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel Highlands and Big Sur.
  • Six towns in Westchester County, New York—Tarrytown, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, Ardsley and White Plains—serve as backdrops in the 2016 movie adaptation of “The Girl on the Train.” Westchester landmarks like John Jay Homestead and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation were also featured in the Robert De Niro-Billy Crystal crime comedy “Analyze That.” And 2020 is the perfect time to revisit Westchester native Washington Irving’s beloved tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” on the 200th anniversary of its publication.

  • The Adirondack setting of Lake Placid’s Whiteface Lodge has long inspired artists and writers and “The Adirondack Reader,” edited by Paul Jamieson, celebrates four centuries of the best from the region. Local resident Russell Banks has set several of his novels in the area, including “Cloudsplitter,” a fictionalized account of abolitionist John Brown.

Travel the world via online simulations and livestreams. If museums are not for you and reading is just not an activity you like, there are other ways you can get your fix of travel from visual stimulation. Yes, we can watch the pay per view men, but what about branching out to see some of the countryside.

  • That bucket-list golf vacation is temporarily benched, but golfers can still play the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links via an online simulation. Or, they can just soak up the scenery at the 18th hole—the most famous finishing hole in golf—thanks to a live cam that captures the crashing surf and spectacular mountain backdrop.
  • collection of webcams at Westchester County’s Wolf Conservation Center (South Salem, NY) invites virtual visitors to witness the private lives of “Ambassador” wolves Atka, Alawa, Zephyr and Nikai, and seven elusive packs of critically endangered red and Mexican gray wolves. Earthcam ranked the collection among the 25 Most Interesting Webcams in 2018.
  • Also in Westchester, the world-class Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (Katonah, NY) has adapted its spring schedule of concerts from a live to virtual audience. Coming up in April are composer-pianist Vijay Iyer, jazz pianist Aaron Diehl, and composer-pianist Conrad Tao. All three livestreams will be hosted, free of charge, on Caramoor’s YouTube channel.
  • Until CIE Tours can take them there again, would-be travelers to Europe can virtually hop the pond to view some of Europe’s most famous sites, from the Trevi Fountain in Rome to Scotland’s Loch Ness.
Loch Ness live camera shot

Museum sources:

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