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How to experience the world’s best museums from home

We know times are tough for travellers. There’s a whole world out there but you can’t go further than your front door. To keep you dreaming of where you’ll go when this moment passes, we’re creating a series of guides that bring the world to you. It’ll never replace the real thing but hopefully it’ll remind you of all the wonders out there ready to explore someday soon. First, here’s our guide to experiencing the world’s greatest museums and galleries from wherever you are.

The British Museum, London

Described as a museum of the world, for the world, the British Museum is home to two million years of history. But the museum has also embraced technology. Half of the eight million objects in the collection are catalogued on their website, ready to be explored. If you don’t want to go searching, choose a curated collection – from animals to Africa – filled with fascinating stories behind unique objects.

The Metropolitan Museum, New York

Use this time to brush up on your art history. The Met has an interactive timeline stretching from 8000 BC to present day, filled with images and essays. They’ve also got hundreds of art books to download for free. Get started with their top 10 recommendations, from Japanese miniature sculptures to the art of Easter Island.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Trying to educate and entertain your kids? The Van Gogh Museum has a series of online activities for all ages, from cartoons to lesson plans. Or, if it’s time to take a break from the screen, print out their free Van Gogh colouring pages.

The Louvre, Paris

Experience the world’s most famous painting in a new way with the Mona Lisa virtual reality app (Google Play, App store). Or discover the hidden gems of the Louvre – each day the museum highlights their Artwork of the Day.

J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

See behind the scenes with a series of fascinating videos, from how mummification works to how ancient artefacts are restored, as well as hundreds of talks and podcasts on art, architecture, history and science.

Even more museums

See the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel without straining your neck or battling the crowds, thanks to a series of virtual tours. Or, if you want to explore even further, Google Arts & Culture gives you access to 1,200 museums around the world, including Anne Frank House, the State Hermitage Museum and the Guggenheim. View artwork and objects in close up, learn more about their history or just wander virtually through the museums, reminding yourself that one day soon you’ll be able to visit in person.

Looking for more inspiration? Hundreds of museums, including the Walt Disney Family Museum, Tate Modern and the American Museum of Natural History are sharing treasures from their collections on social media using the hashtag #MuseumsfromHome.

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