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Google Arts and Culture offers virtual tours of museums and galleries during Coronavirus closures

Google Arts and Culture offers virtual tours of museums and galleries during Coronavirus closures
April 2, 2020

Amid the temporary closure of thousands of art galleries and museums during the global Coronavirus crisis, the Google Arts & Culture platform has partnered with more than 500 cultural institutions to offer 'virtual museum exploration'.

Launched in 2011, the Google Arts & Culture platform has been designed to provide public access to gallery and museum collections around the world.

Using the same technology developed for Google Maps Street View, it enables users to 'walk' through world-famous galleries and museums and explore collections and exhibits, via clickable artworks offering further information, from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

The move to virtual reality is enabling museums and galleries to continue to reach quarantined audiences, as well as enhance their offering with behind-the-scenes access and creative storytelling.

Examples include a 360-degree tour of Chauvet Cave - a prehistoric cave and UNESCO World Heritage site in the Ardéche region of France, which features the earliest discovered examples of prehistoric art.

The tour, called Dawn of Art, was produced by Google Arts & Culture and "digitally preserves" the caves, which are usually reserved for archaeologists and other professionals.

Google says that the virtual tour "bridges 36,000 years of human history by joining state of the art technology with some of the oldest cave paintings left behind by our ancestors."

According to an analysis of Google Trends, the popularity of the platform grew dramatically during March, with online searches for 'Google Arts & Culture' quadrupling.

While not confirming the growth in traffic, a Google spokesperson advised “since its beginnings in 2011, Google Arts & Culture has grown to over 2,000 cultural institutions from over 80 countries today.

“We are happy to see that more and more people find the diverse content that we make available on our website and free app worthwhile in this challenging time.”

Click here to visit Google Arts & Culture.

Images: Google Arts & Culture has grown to include over 2,000 cultural institutions (top) and the arts selfie is a popular feature of the platform (below).

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