Virtual art museums and online exhibits you can visit during the pandemic


During the months that we have been confined due to the pandemic, one means of escape has been through art. Whether it’s books, songs, movies, or a new passion for painting, art has been our solace.

To celebrate Go To An Art Museum Day on November 9, we’ve put together a list of museums you can visit from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace.

National Museum of Fine Arts

One of the must-see museums in the Philippines is the National Museum of Fine Arts, also known as the National Art Gallery. It houses several works of art from the 17th century.

START HERE. The first page of the virtual museum shows the facade of the National Museum of Fine Arts. Photo taken from the Sulyap Museo

Like many others on this list, it is currently closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To celebrate its 119th Founding Day, the National Museum recently launched Sulyap Museum, a 360 degree virtual tour where visitors can (virtually) walk through 9 of its famous galleries. For a more enriching experience, e-visitors receive a serenade from the Manila Choir of the University of the Philippines.

The tour includes the iconic Juan Luna Spoliariumthe museum attraction and the 260 foot mural Filipino struggles throughout history painted by national artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco. The fresco has been declared a National Cultural Treasure.

SPOLIARY. The original canvas from Juan Luna’s Spoliarium which depicts the death of Roman gladiators. Photo taken from the Sulyap Museo
NATIONAL TREASURE. Filipino Struggles Through History by Botong Francisco depicts the history of the Philippines from the arrival of the Spaniards to the establishment of the Commonwealth. Photo taken from the Sulyap Museo

The tour also features sculptures by National Sculpture Artist Guillermo Tolentino.

Visitors can click on the museum’s “hotspots” to learn more about the exhibit hall and the exhibits it contains.

In addition to the National Art Gallery, the National Museum’s #MuseumFromHome initiative also includes a virtual tour of the Anthropology Museum. Both are free and accessible 24/7.

Ayala Museum

the Ayala Museum had already opened a virtual museum for their patrons even before the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, as the Makati Museum was closed for renovations.

The museum is known for its collection of pre-colonial artifacts comprising over 1,000 gold objects and 111 textiles that showcase the rich culture and impeccable craftsmanship of the native Filipinos.

The “Gold in Our Veins” exhibition at the Ayala Museum celebrates the ancient history of Indochina, the East Indies and the Philippine archipelago. In the 3D rendering of the exhibit, patrons can walk through the halls of the gallery and zoom in on the finest details of each painting, as if you are truly in the heart of Makati studying each stroke.

GOLD IN OUR VEINS. Portraits of Prabhajjana (left) and Vidya (right) surrounded by East Asian artifacts.

To get a fuller experience, viewers can also watch the Video Virtual Tour to learn more about the rich heritage of ancient East Asia.

Apart from the gold exhibit, the Ayala Museum TV also offers more than 40 videos about the different objects in their museum, which can be viewed on their Youtube channel. The videos are categorized into Beauty, Gold, Courtship, Religion, and Crafts.

Exhibits can also be found on the Ayala Museum and the Philippine Heritage Library pages on Google Arts & Culture on the rich culture of Filipino and Filipino textiles during and after World War II.

The museum has also transformed the Philippine History Diorama exhibit into a coloring book as teaching materials for children and students.

Ateneo Art Gallery

Housed in Areté inside the Ateneo de Manila University campus is the Ateneo Art Gallery, widely known as the first modern art museum in the Philippines. It holds an impressive collection of the various movements of Filipino art. You can now browse five of their exhibits, namely: love it and leave it, The printed folio, Ateneo Art Awards 2018, Inscapesand The World According to Charlie Co.

To celebrate National Arts Month last February, the Ateneo Art Gallery organized an exhibition of the works of Charlie Co. Co is a plastic artist originally from Bacolod who has made a name for himself in the world of contemporary art. . The exhibition spans four decades of his work, capturing four decades of the world we live in.

Another virtual tour includes Agnès Arellano’s sculptures that challenge the conventional way we see and experience art. The plays explore themes of motherhood, sexuality, religion, life and death.

HALIYA BATHING: A marble piece that depicts the Bicolano myth of the moon goddess Halliya made by Agnes Arellano. Screenshot of Ateneo Art Gallery
Malacañan Presidential Museum and Library

the Presidential Museum usually requires a reservation before you can take a tour, but with the help of technology you can now experience it anytime. The Museum recently partnered with Google Arts & Culture to promote presidential artwork and memorabilia.

MARCOS ROOM. Documents and photographs of the Marcos regime are on display at the Presidential Museum, including the official presidential seal used during his administration. Screenshot of the Presidential Museum

Besides storing relics and memorabilia of former presidents, the halls of the Presidential Museum bear witness to the history of the Philippines as the oldest part of the palace.

The museum is a must-see for history buffs as its collection includes the timelines of every Philippine president and their respective contributions to the country’s development. In this walkthrough, virtual visitors can revisit the years as if they were in a time machine.

Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA)

No need to take a 15-hour flight to visit the famous Museum of Modern Art or MoMA in New York. They have now displayed some of their installations online in their “Virtual views” exhibition which includes guided tours of the gallery, discussions with the artists and audio guides.

If you miss the Big Apple, you can discover a whole exhibition dedicated to the city. New York, open city explores the architecture that makes up New York’s famous skyline. Artwork accompanied by audio guides provide insight into the different boroughs and its history, making you feel like you’re in the city.

MoMA Virtual views explores various galleries of different artists and different artistic mediums. Another of their online exhibits is the Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde – From Signac to Matisse and Beyond Gallery.

VIRTUAL VIEWS. A preview of the Félix Fénéon exhibition. Screenshot of the virtual tour of the Museum of Modern Art

Customers can click on the paintings to better understand each piece. It also offers a conversation with the curator to bring galleries closer to people.

English Museum

It’s no surprise that the British Museum receives more than 6 million visitors each year despite having one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of human history, arts and culture thanks, in part, to centuries of colonialism. You can now browse some of its 8 million objects in their virtual exhibition.

The online museum includes the famous Rosetta Stone.

ROSETTA STONE. The British Museum presents the famous Rosetta stone in its virtual museum. Screenshot of the British Museum virtual exhibition

This interactive museum will amaze you at how successful they have been in integrating technology into education. It features a highly interactive timeline where visitors can click on every point in the story that piques their interest. By clicking on each object, you can read it or hear about it thanks to the audio guide.

But if you prefer the traditional route of getting lost in the vast halls of museums, you can still enjoy it by clicking on here.

J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA)

If you are interested in European history, the J. Paul Getty Museum might be for you. It houses Greek, Roman and Etruscan art from different points in time. This online experience offers a guided tour of the museum, as well as free online exhibits for the public.

Just like the others on this list, you can either wander through the galleries of the museum or explore it by clicking on a topic you like on the main page of their Google Arts & Culture account.

Guests can discover the works of famous painters Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt and Claude Monet.

EUROPEAN ART. The J. Paul Getty Museum houses some of the works of famous painters Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt and Claude Monet. Screenshot of the Getty Museum digital tour

One of the Getty Museum’s stories on their Google Arts & Culture page is an exploration of the intricate works on chinese tapestry which features tapestries commissioned in France in the late 1600s that lasted nearly a decade. Besides admiring the complicated handwork that went into making the pieces, it also gives insight into the story that each set of tapestries tells. –


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