Get a dose of culture right from the comfort of your couch! Check out these awesome virtual museum tours for kids, both in Singapore and around the world.
Even while restrictions are lifting more, there’s no telling when we’ll be able to travel or go back to visiting crowded tourist attractions like museums or amusement parks again.
But it’s not all bad! Now you can both save on plane fare and get a mega-dose of culture, as museums around the world are putting together fabulous virtual tours and other online resources to do a deep dive into their collections — and there are no crowds at all! Many of the museums below are part of Google Arts and Culture, which is well worth exploring (kids will particularly love its downloadable coloring & activity book!).
Of course, there’s plenty to see right here on our fair little island. From The Istana to the kid-friendly ArtScience Museum, there are heaps of places you can visit virtually and in-person.
Museums in Singapore
ArtScience Museum has launched “ArtScience at Home,” which presents online versions of its education activities, such as guided exhibition tours and workshops, along with flagship programmes like ArtScience Late and ArtScience on Screen. You can even take a virtual tour of Future World!
Asian Civilisations Museum has a variety of ways to explore its collection from videos and Instagram spotlights; to home activity cards for Preschool, Primary and Secondary school students; to an interactive quiz (#ACMMCQ on Instagram Stories!); to #ACMCraft challenges for kids; to a new virtual rendition of its popular Saturdays@ACM events for families, which will feature audio storytelling, downloadable craft templates and fun videos.
There’s not longer a need to wait for public holidays! You and the kiddos can explore the stately rooms of Singapore’s Presidential Palace, where guests are honoured and entertained at state functions and other gatherings.
LaSalle College of the Arts
On June 2, LaSalle will hold its annual showcase of this year’s graduating cohort’s works for The LASALLE Show online. It’s a display of the graduating cohort’s creativity and boundless imagination, displaying the year’s best and brightest works in contemporary arts, design and performance.
Malay Heritage Centre
You can’t take a virtual tour of this cool museum in Kampong Glam, but they’ve created heaps of activities to teach kids more about museums, including a Heritage Explorers Programme teaching kids about different positions in a museum (such as curator and designer, which encourages them to create their own museum exhibition at home! The Malay Heritage Centre is also showcasing digital artworks from local artists throughout the month of May on its Facebook page. Between now and 22 June 2020, be sure to check the digital offerings on MHC’s Facebook page and National Heritage Board’s Ramadan Together Facebook events page, to soak in the festive spirit as a community online despite being home, and learn more about Ramadan and Hari Raya, including the intangible cultural heritage traditions, customs and practices associated with these festivals.
National Gallery, Singapore has created a dedicated kids’ website, Gallery Kids. Here you can explore paintings from around Southeast Asia, play dozens of interactive games, and listen to tales from animated storytellers. We think kiddos will particularly love My INK-credible Adventure, where they can make their own (digital) splat paintings inspired by Yeo Shih Yun. You can also take a virtual tour of the gallery’s collections through Google Arts & Culture.
On June 1, the National Gallery launched the second edition of its biennial children’s festival — #SmallBigDreamersAtHome. Running until 28 March 2021, the online art festival for kids 6 to 12 will feature interactive games and hands-on art activities to unleash their inner artist while also learning about key, kid-friendly artworks within the National Gallery’s collection and beyond.
National Museum of Singapore is offering #MuseumFromHome: Get Curious! from 15 May to 10 July. Families can discover craft activities, learning resources and other online programmes while discovering the museum’s extraordinary collection dedicated to Singapore’s history and culture. Kiddos can make their own toys from household items, or watch videos to learn classic Mandarin nursery rhymes. You can also take a guided virtual tour of An Old New World, the recently-concluded exhibition featuring lesser-known stories of Singapore’s history from 200 years before the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles.
Singapore Philatelic Museum closed for renovations last year, but in the meantime you can go on a virtual tour of its Heritage Room, where you can trace the story of different migrant groups who came to Singapore in the 19th century and find out about early traditional trades, cultural festivals, traditional costumes and musical instruments. Even more excitingly, when the Philatelic Museum reopens in 2021 it will be a dedicated children’s museum!
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall is encouraging kids to select and recreate one of the artworks from its collection. Simply use household items to creatively replicate a piece of art, upload your photo by 31 May, and the top 50 submissions will stand to win a prize!
Museums around the World
The Acropolis, Greece
If your kiddo’s learning about ancient history, you can now see its roots in vivid detail with expansive virtual tours of the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike and more.
American Museum of Natural History
Calling all dinosaur fans! Get a close-up look at this renowned museum’s impressive collection of dinosaur fossils, and learn about all other sorts of culture and phenomena from the natural world.
Bagan Temples, Myanmar
Myanmar – particularly hot air ballooning over Bagan – is definitely on our Southeast Asia bucket list. This virtual tour from Google is one of the coolest that we’ve seen — you really do almost feel like you’re floating above the temples!
The British Museum
This very cool interactive site designed by Google takes you through time and also lets you explore by geography and theme. You can zoom in on objects and paintings, hear audio, and much more.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The extensive “Met 360” project offers six short videos exploring indoor and outdoor spaces at the famed New York City Museum. We think kids will particularly enjoy the Arms and Armor galleries.
Here’s your chance to see some of the world’s most famous paintings by the likes of Matisse, Van Gogh, Klimt and Keith Haring. MoMA’s artworks are thought-provoking and ripe for discussion.
The building itself of this landmark Paris museum – a former grand railway station – is worth exploring on its own, but on top of that you’ve got works from some of the greatest impressionist painters of all time, including Van Gogh, Renoir, Manet, Monet, Degas, and Gauguin.
J. Paul Getty Museum
This astounding collection of artworks ranging from the 8th-21st centuries features paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and early photographs from around the world. You can even access their content to create a cool custom Zoom background, too!
This promises to be the best view of the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo that you’ll ever get! With these virtual tours of Paris’s famed art museum you can take a walk through its different rooms, or explore works by theme.
See works by all the Dutch Masters as you take a sweeping walk through this grand museum, and you’ll even get accompanying audio for select pieces.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Marvel at Renaissance works by Rembrandt, Botticelli, Caravaggio and many others with this exquisite collection of paintings and drawings.
Van Gogh Museum: Explore four floors’ of this famous museum in Amsterdam that offers access to 200 paintings, 500 drawings and more than 750 letters from Vincent Van Gogh.
Palace of Versailles
You can take a tour of opulent palace’s famed grounds and Hall of Mirrors, learn more about the royals who lived there (even exploring Louis XIV’s golden bedchamber!), and inspect items from paintings to gowns. The virtual reality aspect of this tour is really incredible.
In addition to taking a virtual walk through this art museum with works from 1545 to the present, be sure to check out the excellent Tate Kids website, which is filled with games, quizzes, and DIY arts and crafts projects.