From online games like Among Us and Gartic Phone to all kinds of cool gadgets, we’ve seen lots of tech-y things go viral over the past year, and virtual museums are no exception.
Many cultural organizations, including museums, are now using technology in unique ways to virtually open their doors to the public. By offering 360° tours or setting up exclusively virtual exhibits, museums have gone all out in order to make sure that people still have access to art, culture, history, and informative content. After all, we gotta find some way to keep ourselves entertained at home, right?
This innovative idea of virtual museums was so popular that Google even took the initiative to launch Google Arts and Culture. Working together with a myriad of museums, monuments, and galleries from all around the world, they created an interactive website to bring the best virtual experiences to the comfort of your home.
Besides that, popular museums such as the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and more have also set up virtual tours and online collections on their own websites.
Closer to home, our neighbour, Singapore, has also embraced this virtual museum trend, with many of their museums coming up with innovative and interesting online exhibitions and programmes
Singapore Art Museum, National Gallery Singapore, and Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum are all available for exploration via Google Arts and Culture. Not only can you virtually walk through the museum halls, there are also various collections and stories for each museum.
Interested in art? Check out unique art pieces at Singapore Art Museum and National Gallery Singapore, categorised by the various mediums used to create them such as steel, wood, metal, acrylic paint, and more.
If nature is your thing, you’ll definitely love Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. As a leading biodiversity research and education centre in Asia, you’ll learn all about the rich plant and animal life of Southeast Asia and nearby areas, right from the comfort of your home.
So, what exactly are the benefits of virtual museums and why are they gaining popularity, especially in places like Singapore? Here are some reasons:
1. You get to skip queues and avoid expensive admission fees
Waiting in long lines for hours just to get in is commonplace in many museums, plus admission fees can be a little pricey as well. Of course, it’s all worth it in the end, because you get an incredible experience.
But with virtual museums, most tours and exhibitions are free. Even if there are charges, they’re usually not too expensive. And say goodbye to lining up! You won’t have to wait for anything, as you can just log on whenever you want.
2. You’re free to take your own sweet time to go through an exhibit at your own pace
Sometimes, we tend to rush through museums in real life, especially if it’s in another country, as we have other things on our holiday itinerary to get to. It’s such a shame to do that though, ’cause you don’t really get to fully soak up the experience.
A huge advantage of virtual museums is that you can take your time exploring, and you can take whatever route you want. With just a tap or a click, you can wander through the museum to your heart’s content, and spend as much time as you want on each art piece or attraction.
And the extra perk is that you won’t have to deal with a sea of heads blocking your view, hehe! 😉
3. Got little ones at home? Virtual museums can keep ’em entertained for hours.
Running out of ways to keep your little ones occupied at home? Lots of museums have online workshops and programmes, specially targeted for kids. They are usually specially curated based on age range, and cover a wide range of informative topics. Your kids will be having so much fun following along that they won’t even realise they’re learning.
Take the National Museum Singapore for example, which has a fun #MuseumFromHome series. It consists of various online resources and programmes for families to enjoy at home, including craft video tutorials, a video recipe series, informative storytelling sessions, and lots more. Your kiddos will be entertained for hours!
4. Museums like Singapore’s ArtScience Museum and others have used technology to create incredibly creative online exhibits and displays
Besides the usual tours and exhibitions, there’s so much more that museums can do now, thanks to technology. Bringing extinct animals to life, transporting you into space or into the depths of the sea, and re-creating ancient civilizations and lost landmarks are just some of the amazing things they can do.
Plus, virtual museums are able to be a lot more interactive, with all kinds of cool features to help you discover more. Some museums are even running interesting online workshops.
5. Most importantly, virtual museums will keep you safe
Ultimately, the biggest perk of virtual museums is that you get to stay safe at home whilst still exploring the world. Of course, we all miss being able to physically visit museums to check out interesting exhibits and events, and we can’t wait to be able to do that again!
But in the meantime, virtual museums are a wonderful way to indulge in your wanderlust feels, while also helping museums stay afloat in these difficult times.
If you’re looking for a fun, kid-friendly virtual museum experience, check out National Museum Singapore’s #MuseumFromHome series.
Recommended for families with children aged 1 to 10 years, #MuseumFromHome is a timeless repository of online resources and programmes developed by National Museum Singapore.
There’s just so much for your kids to do — from following fun craft tutorials on how to make their own toys using materials from around the house, to engaging in music and movement activities inspired by Early Learning Resources.
Check out the full programme list here.
In addition, you can also take a look at these other cool Singaporean virtual experiences for kids — Hello From The Wild Side and Gallery Children’s Biennale.
Hello From The Wild Side
Dates: Now – December 31 2021
Hosted by the Singapore Zoo, the popular Hello From The Wild Side online programme is back for a second season! This time, it features more unique interactions with adorable critters. Plus, there’s a newly-curated Zoo Explained! segment which offers limited edition content every month.
In the first session of Zoo Explained!, you’ll get to meet the playful Emperor Tamarins from River Safari and their dedicated keeper, Ken, who has all the answers to your burning questions about the intelligent and inquisitive creatures.
Find out more here.
Gallery Children’s Biennale
Dates: Now – December 2022
The National Gallery Singapore’s bi-yearly multi-sensorial art experience returns with its first-ever hybrid edition! The inaugural “phygital” edition kicks off with an online experience via a kaleidoscopic microsite, followed by on-site art installations at National Gallery Singapore.
Look forward to a series of exciting programmes, including captivating storytelling sessions, interactive movement exercises, parent-child sound exploration workshops, and more!
Find out more here.