Due to people worldwide having to practice social distancing, stay at home, and avoid crowded places, an increasing number of museums and tourist attractions have temporarily closed their doors. This type of entertainment has had to adapt and seek new solutions.
That’s why this year, virtual museum tours have become more popular. Virtual reality has the power to transport people to museums they may never be able to visit in real life. Thus, welcoming digital visitors to museums around the world with ease and unprecedented access is a significant advancement. Some museums opt for interactive tours in the form of online maps, while others choose to share image galleries or 3D scans of their pieces.
Some museums that offer this experience include the British Museum (London), Musée d’Orsay (Paris), Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam), MASP (São Paulo), National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico City), National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), and many more. These free online offerings range from rudimentary clips filmed on iPhones to engaging interactive websites.
The potential of virtual museum tours goes beyond that
There is a growing opportunity to create a much-improved virtual tour experience with the ability to monetize it. Streaming museum visits are emerging and clearly standing out from the rest.
Some museums have started charging for experiencing their shows online. For example, the National Gallery in London offers a half-hour video tour where Letizia Treves, the curator of the exhibition, takes viewers on a gallery stroll.
“Clearly, a video doesn’t replace being here. However, it is a new way to let the audience in. And to generate income, obviously.” Chris Michaels, Digital Director of the National Gallery
Furthermore, some museums in the United States have also started monetizing their online tours. For instance, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York offers a service where an educator meets with an online group to discuss works from the collection. Kathryn Galitz, who manages this program for the Met, said in an interview that the museum had hosted over 80 digital streaming events this year, including birthday parties and a gathering of the entire women’s art history society.
Now, people can have a complete museum experience without leaving their couch.