While COVID concerns still have many of us stuck at home, nothing can stop the ongoing craving to explore New York’s museums. Fortunately, many of these world-famous destinations have responded by providing access to their collections, and even special exhibits, through virtual tours that can be experienced from just about anywhere.
In fact, these types of tours might offer a few advantages to an in-person visit: there’s no need to travel or wait in line, you’ll have immediate access to your expert guide, and — possibly best of all — there’s no crowds.
If you’re wondering where to start, here’s a round-up of some of the best of virtual museum tours NYC has to offer:
No list of New York museums would be complete without the Met — even virtually, it’s going above and beyond to thrill visitors. The Met is currently offering several types of virtual museum tours, depending on the type of visit you’re looking for. You can find separate ones dedicated to each of the museum’s major gallery wings; there’s a highlights tour of the whole museum; and, until February 28, a virtual look at their special exhibit “About Time,” which is a survey of the last 150 years of fashion. There is a fee.
Despite its dedication to ancient artifacts, the Natural History Museum has one of the most technologically innovative virtual museum experiences. A completely free offering, virtual visitors can experience a high-resolution tour of the many galleries and exhibits simply by navigating to the museum’s website. The image quality in the online environment is so good that you may even get a better view of their famous blue whale through your internet connection than if you were there in person.
For a different type of tour, take a virtual visit to the Tenement Museum. A fully preserved apartment building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, this museum gives a view into the time when New York was home to waves of new immigrants. For a small fee, virtual visitors can see historically accurate re-creations of the homes of different immigrant families and across several eras, as life continued to change and evolve for these newly arrived New Yorkers. With a premium ticket, your visit can include historical presentations guided by actors.
The Guggenheim, a premiere New York destination for modern and contemporary art, has a variety of virtual tours available of its collection — including one themed “Working From Home,” as well as a special tour of the museum’s 2018-2019 exhibit, Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future. If you’re disappointed to miss a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building in person, the Guggenheim also has a tour dedicated to the museum’s architecture. The cost is $215 per hour for 20 participants, but museum staff are willing to customize their tours to fit individual group interests.
If you’re looking for a high-quality virtual museum experience for little-to-no cost, The Morgan Library is hosting a select set of virtual tours of works by an impressive selection of artists, including David Hockney, Betye Saar, and William Blake. The tours do have limited availability, so sign up now if you’re interested!
Always exciting, New York City can provide endless explorations — even from home. Be sure to take a virtual tour of some of the city’s best museums, putting history, art and artifacts at your fingertips.