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25 Mar 2020

Google Arts & Culture offers virtual tours for more than 500 museums following closures
BY Lauren Heath-Jones

Google Arts & Culture will offer virtual tours for more than 500 museums at art galleries, including the Musée d'Orsay, that have been forced to close due to the coronavirus

Google Arts & Culture will offer virtual tours for more than 500 museums at art galleries, including the Musée d'Orsay, that have been forced to close due to the coronavirus
photo: ©Google

Google Arts & Culture has partnered with more than 500 cultural institutions to offer 'virtual museum exploration', following the temporary closure of thousands of art galleries and museums in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An online platform designed to provide public access to gallery and museum collections across the globe, Google Arts & Culture uses the same technology developed for Google Maps Street View to enable users to 'walk' through world-famous galleries and museums and explore collections and exhibits, via clickable artworks offering further information, from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

The move to virtual reality is enabling museums and galleries to continue to reach quarantined audiences, as well as enhance their offering with behind-the-scenes access and creative storytelling. Examples include a 360-degree tour of Chauvet Cave – a prehistoric cave and Unesco World Heritage site in Ardéche, France, which features the earliest discovered examples of prehistoric art.

The tour, called Dawn of Art, was produced by Google Arts & Culture and "digitally preserves" the caves, which are usually reserved for archaeologists and other professionals. Google says that the virtual tour "bridges 36,000 years of human history by joining state of the art technology with some of the oldest cave paintings left behind by our ancestors."

A number of museums on the site are yet to offer virtual tours, instead offering high-resolution images of some of their most celebrated works.



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