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Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Photograph: Shutterstock

The best virtual art exhibitions to explore from home

Marvel at the world's most renowned artworks right from your living room

By Dewi Nurjuwita
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Trying to find something to keep you occupied while staying at home? Hey, you don't have to watch endless series on Netflix if you don't want to. Did you know that you can explore virtually every major museum in the world online? That's made possible with the existence of online platform Google Arts and Culture and local virtual tour companies like Haroko Studio, as well as online exhibitions hosted by the galleries themselves. Culture vultures can now feed their minds without even leaving their couch. 

RECOMMENDED: The best local movies to stream online and novels by local authors to read right now

Ong Kim Seng
Photograph: Ong Kim Seng

National Gallery Singapore

Art City Hall

Did you know that you can explore the National Gallery Singapore without even getting off your couch? After all, the gallery oversees the world's leading public collection of modern art from Singapore and Southeast Asia, with over 8,000 works from the 19th and 20th centuries. View works by illustrious artists like Lim Cheng Hoe, Thomas Yeo and Ong Kim Seng with a virtual tour of the gallery itself. 

An Old New World: Digital Edition
Photograph: National Museum of Singapore

An Old New World: Digital Edition

Art Singapore City,

The National Museum of Singapore is taking its physical Bicentennial exhibition, An Old New World: From the East Indies to the Founding of Singapore, 1600s – 1819, off-ground and online with its digital version. The virtual exhibition transports you back in time to the bustling trading port of the East Indies that drew the attention of the Dutch and British East India Companies. Uncover the factors at play leading up to the events of 1819 through this informative virtual exhibition. 

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Chinatown Heritage Centre

Things to do Chinatown

The Chinatown Heritage Centre stands as a proud reminder of Chinatown's storied past. After its revamp in 2016, it is now a replica of a '50s and '60s tailor shop, sundry store and crowded living quarters spread across three storeys of a shophouse – with ambient soundscapes and audio conversations that evoke the buzz of those bygone years. 

However, you can still find the old exhibit thanks to Haroko Studio's 360-degree virtual tour of the heritage centre, pre-revamp. The virtual tour boasts images that were taken in high resolution, so you can examine the detail of each photograph or artefact by zooming in or out. What more, you can even view the exhibition in VR. Simply click on the goggle icon located at the bottom right of the screen, choose the appropriate VR mode for your headset, and there you go. 

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National Museum of Singapore
Photograph: National Museum of Singapore

#MuseumFromHome with the National Museum of Singapore

Art National Museum of Singapore, City Hall

The National Museum of Singapore has joined the #MuseumFromHome movement, bringing its collections online. Enjoy exciting activities and programmes from the comfort of your home with the whole family – including craft activities, learning resources, and programmes online from the comfort of their homes, all while learning about the museum's collection.

This International Museum Day, join a series of programmes designed around the theme 'Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion'. Listen in to Lekker Architects, the designer of the museum's Quiet Room, in a talk about the design of inclusive spaces. Try your hand at making your own performer puppets using materials found at home, or listen to a fascinating conversation between a Muslim religious leader and Frank Foo, the author of a book series about festivals in Singapore, on the significance of Ramadan. 

Round up the whole family and join the Online Scavenger Hunt to learn more about Singapore's cultures from May 18 to 31, and stand a chance to win Food for Thought e-vouchers. 

Kwong Woh Hing Sauce Factory Virtual Tour
Photograph: Haroko Studio

Kwong Woh Hing Sauce Factory

While not exactly an art exhibition, this one's pretty interesting. Learn about the origins of your soya sauce with Haroko Studio's 360-degree virtual tour of Kwong Woh Hing Sauce Factory. The tour of the sauce factory will demonstrate the traditional, intricate and laborious fermentation process used to create their artisanal sauces. The virtual tour is complete with embedded photos, magazine articles, supportive texts, and accompanying music. 

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Art Central x Artsy
Photograph: Art Central Hong Kong

Art Central x Artsy Online Fair

Following the cancellation of the initial Art Central Hong Kong due to COVID-19, the team has teamed up with exclusive online partner Artsy to host an online edition of Art Central from March 18 to May 1. Featuring cutting-edge works by emerging artists, the online catalogue will offer a longer opportunity for collectors and participating galleries to interact. Highlights include Ina Jang’s Radiator Theatre the Heat presented by One Four, Peter Yuill’s As Above So Below from Gallery HZ, and Darryl Westly’s Interior-Exterior Flora from Cuturi Gallery. To access the Art Central x Artsy site, click the link here

IRAS Gallery
Photograph: IRAS Gallery

IRAS Gallery

If you're looking for something more, er, serious, the IRAS Gallery won't disappoint. Learn about the beginnings of tax in Singapore, get interesting facts you never knew, and find out how the administration of tax has transformed over the years at the Virtual Gallery. Well, since we've got all the time in the world now, why not? 

Around the globe

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA BANGKOK)
Photograph: Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA BANGKOK)

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Bangkok)

Over at Bangkok, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Bangkok) is a strong advocate for authentic Thai art and culture. It houses a large collection of valuable paintings and sculptures created by famous Thai artists. Enter the wild world of Thai surrealist artist Somphong Adulyasaraphan at its online exhibit Transcending. The exhibit features artworks such as House under the Sea (1986) and Gazing at the World Through the Gate (2002) – providing us with a glimpse of what goes inside the artist's mind. 

Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Photograph: Shutterstock

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Head on (virtually, that is) to the City of Lights and into one of its most famous museums, Musée d’Orsay. Located in a Paris railway station and hotel, it displays collections of art from 1848 to 1914, including Cézanne, Monet and other French masters. Join the virtual tour, which features an online exhibition charting the history of the building. If you're an architecture buff, check out a full view of the building's iconic facade here

 

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The Natural History Museum
Photograph: Kafai Liu on Unsplash

The Natural History Museum

If you had your upcoming trip to London cancelled, don't fret. Discover the world's largest natural history collection at London's Natural History Museum – virtually, that is. Delve into the fascinating story of our planet, from its fiery beginnings through billions of years of transformation. And don't forget to keep an eye out for the most famous resident, Dippy the Dino.  

J Paul Getty Museum
Photograph: David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Boasting more than 6,000 years worth of treasures, the Getty is one of the most iconic art institutions in the USA. Three of the museum's most popular exhibitions – Michelangelo: Mind of the MasterAssyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq, and Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics – are online. The Google Arts and Culture site also offers a museum view tool offering a glimpse of the gallery's spaces, with clickable artworks to provide you with more information. 

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