Virtual tourism: How museums are fighting COVID-19

Virtual tourism: How museums are fighting COVID-19
The tourism industry as a whole has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and leading museums, galleries and exhibitions are no exception. In our first exploration of how industries are fighting the effect of the virus, Inavate explores how curators have had to get creative to engage with audiences during a period of unprecedented lockdowns across EMEA, with many taking to virtual tours as a way to alleviate boredom and engage virtual visitors.

Bovington Tank Museum – UK 

With the famed military history museum now closing its doors, the museum has turned to Google Street View to allow visitors to explore its tank story exhibition, which has been captured in a series of 360-degree photographs, stitched together to allow users to traverse around the exhibits. 

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Google Maps and Google Earth can be used to zoom in and explore the exhibits, with museums spokesman Nik Wyness saying: “This is a great way to showcase the size and scale of The Tank Museum – whilst providing a tantalising glimpse of this compelling modern museum to those who have yet to visit and to those who may live too far away to visit.

“It’s part of an increasing online presence we have built for The Tank Museum using free online tools, which is being enjoyed by audiences around the world.”

The Tank Museum is one of 1,200 museums and archives that have partnered with Google’s Arts & Culture platform to show exhibits online via street view. 

Vatican Museum – Vatican City State 

The Vatican Museum is offering virtual tours of six of its most famous sights, including the Sistine Chapel. The virtual tours, hosted on the Vatican Museum’s website, allow users to traverse the museum via high resolution, 360 degrees photographs, providing a chance to examine the most sacred of the Catholic Church’s endeavours without crowds. 

For some exhibitions, such as Raphael’s Rooms, a VR option is available to allow the exhibits to be experienced on VR headsets. 

Valley of the Kings – Egypt 

Egypt is a country that has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak due its massive tourism industry which has taken a battering due to lockdown measures brought in around the world.

To combat isolation, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiques has launched several online virtual tours, including one of the legendary tomb of Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings. Users can scroll through these historical sites at their leisure 

Other virtual tours are being added at regular intervals, with the Red Monastery being added alongside the Mosque and Madrassa (School) of Sultan Barquq and the Ben Ezra Jewish Synagogue. 

Tower of David Museum – Israel 

The Tower of David Museum created a VR and gaming experience which was intended to be launched during the Passover holiday, but due to COVID-19’s effect on the tourism industry, the museum decided to work with VR producers OccupiedVR to create an online experience that allows visitors to experience a 360-degree virtual reality documentary in the heart of Jerusalem.

Users can experience Jerusalem during Passover, Easter and Ramadan via mobile device or Laptop with a VR headset.  

Louvre Museum - France

Another leading museum that, on any other time of year, would be thronging with tourists and art enthusiasts. Art museums have had to become creative in displaying their content and the Louvre is no exception, allowing virtual users to walk around the iconic venue and examine artwork in stunning detail. 

The Louvre's virtual tour allows visitors to closely exhibits, with additional museum on on individual pieces (in French.), providing free and unprecedented access to the museum's many treasures. 

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