Membership Expires: Renew

12 Cultural Events to Experience From Home

Visit these museums, watch concerts and enjoy opera from the comfort of your couch

   

Even though you’ve settled in at home for the foreseeable future, you can expand your world beyond the confines of your residence with virtual cultural experiences that are now being offered online to engage people while they practice social distancing or self-quarantining.

These virtual experiences allow you to see works of art within museums that you might never visit because they’re across the country or in Europe. You can also see operas, ballets, Broadway shows, aquariums, World Heritage Sites and more from the comfort of your living room.

Engaging in worthwhile activities, such as going to museums or the theater, have been shown to help make life more meaningful and contribute to better mental and physical health among older adults, according to a recent observational study published in the journal PNAS. Social engagement is also an important part of the equation, so invite your partner to join you for a virtual tour or theater production. Better yet, make a phone date with a friend who shares your taste, so that you can enjoy the same experience simultaneously and talk about your favorite parts in real time.

Here are some of the best offerings which you can enjoy online right now:

1. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Whether you love dinosaur fossils, animal exhibits or artifacts from ancient Egypt and other cultures, you’ll see them all, plus more, when you take a virtual tour of this museum. The full-screen images of the current exhibits let you explore at your own pace, and an interactive map of the museum lets you click on exhibits within different rooms, so you can easily navigate from the Hope Diamond to the Ocean Hall without getting lost or needing to find an elevator.

2. Palace of Versailles, France

Tour the lavish royal palace just outside of Paris, which was home to French royalty in the 17th and 18th centuries. By rotating your screen view within the museum view exploration option, you can look out over the palace’s lush gardens, zoom in on the intricate details painted on the Hall of Mirrors’ vaulted ceilings and enjoy countless paintings, sculptures and elaborate chandeliers.

3. Art Institute of Chicago

Within the museum tour feature, you can zoom in on a Van Gogh self-portrait, a Cassatt mother-and-child painting or a Cézanne still life. The museum’s online tour also lets you click through well-regarded paintings that represent the Baroque and Renaissance periods, impressionism, realism, modern art and more.

4. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

The indoor street view of this museum’s online virtual tour makes you feel like you’re within the famous building, walking down the ramps and looking at the artwork. You can zoom in on individual pieces of art, look down into glass-enclosed cases and experience the museum architecture. Other parts of the tour let you learn more about different artists whose works are featured within the exhibits as well as view their creations.

5. Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

This virtual church tour is unlike any other that you may have seen. The iconic Roman Catholic basilica was designed by the visionary Antoni Gaudí, so the architecture combines unexpected elements with the traditional. You can see views of several unique interior rooms, as well as sweeping vistas of the unusual exterior – which is still under construction – and the surrounding city.

6. White House, Washington, D.C.

Go behind the scenes at the White House – no background check or Secret Service escort required. You’ll see the insides of a number of famous rooms, which are decorated with notable antiques, sculptures and paintings. You can also click through a gallery of portraits of former presidents and first ladies.

7. Metropolitan Opera, New York City

The Met has begun streaming some of the greatest operas that have been performed on its stage, through its new free Nightly Met Opera Streams series. Every night, they offer a different production, with each opera available through its website for a 20-hour period, so that you can watch at your convenience rather than settling in front of your screen at 7:30 p.m. ET. The streaming series will be offered the entire time that the Met is closed. Use this opportunity to get your fill of opera or find out if you enjoy the genre without paying for a ticket.

8. National Aquarium, Baltimore

The underwater residents of this well-known aquarium have been captured in 360-degree images within this virtual tour, allowing you to see fish, sharks and other creatures in their habitats – without fear of them swimming away. By clicking on an interactive map of the facility, you can choose to look at jellyfish, coral reefs, creatures from tropical rain forests and more.

9. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

Get up close and personal with Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, a lunar module and countless other airplanes and spacecraft with this extensive virtual tour, which lets you explore the halls of the museum and its companion facility, the Udvar-Hazy Center, and check out the exhibits all around you. Don’t forget to look up.

10. Uffizi Galleries, Florence, Italy

Within this world-renowned museum’s virtual tours, you can explore the lengths of exhibit-filled hallways and “walk” into different galleries, getting intimate looks at different paintings, sculptures and ceiling frescoes. You can also click through collections to view famous paintings that are housed at the museum, such as Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.

11. Stonehenge, England

The interactive Google Maps feature within the online virtual tour of this World Heritage Site lets you wander in and around the giant stone formations while gazing at the green countryside. You can also click through an exhibition about some of the artifacts found in the area, shedding light on the people who lived near Stonehenge centuries ago.

12. Broadway Shows, New York City

Sing along with your favorite show tunes, see the Shakespeare production that you didn’t mean to miss or watch your favorite celebrity onstage. Broadway HD is offering a seven-day free trial on its website, which allows you to watch any number of its musicals, comedies and dramas from Broadway theaters and other notable stages around the world, plus ballets, Cirque du Soleil performances and more. —Lisa Fields

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Membership Expires: Renew

12 Cultural Events to Experience From Home

Visit these museums, watch concerts and enjoy opera from the comfort of your couch

   

Even though you’ve settled in at home for the foreseeable future, you can expand your world beyond the confines of your residence with virtual cultural experiences that are now being offered online to engage people while they practice social distancing or self-quarantining.

These virtual experiences allow you to see works of art within museums that you might never visit because they’re across the country or in Europe. You can also see operas, ballets, Broadway shows, aquariums, World Heritage Sites and more from the comfort of your living room.

Engaging in worthwhile activities, such as going to museums or the theater, have been shown to help make life more meaningful and contribute to better mental and physical health among older adults, according to a recent observational study published in the journal PNAS. Social engagement is also an important part of the equation, so invite your partner to join you for a virtual tour or theater production. Better yet, make a phone date with a friend who shares your taste, so that you can enjoy the same experience simultaneously and talk about your favorite parts in real time.

Here are some of the best offerings which you can enjoy online right now:

1. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Whether you love dinosaur fossils, animal exhibits or artifacts from ancient Egypt and other cultures, you’ll see them all, plus more, when you take a virtual tour of this museum. The full-screen images of the current exhibits let you explore at your own pace, and an interactive map of the museum lets you click on exhibits within different rooms, so you can easily navigate from the Hope Diamond to the Ocean Hall without getting lost or needing to find an elevator.

2. Palace of Versailles, France

Tour the lavish royal palace just outside of Paris, which was home to French royalty in the 17th and 18th centuries. By rotating your screen view within the museum view exploration option, you can look out over the palace’s lush gardens, zoom in on the intricate details painted on the Hall of Mirrors’ vaulted ceilings and enjoy countless paintings, sculptures and elaborate chandeliers.

3. Art Institute of Chicago

Within the museum tour feature, you can zoom in on a Van Gogh self-portrait, a Cassatt mother-and-child painting or a Cézanne still life. The museum’s online tour also lets you click through well-regarded paintings that represent the Baroque and Renaissance periods, impressionism, realism, modern art and more.

4. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

The indoor street view of this museum’s online virtual tour makes you feel like you’re within the famous building, walking down the ramps and looking at the artwork. You can zoom in on individual pieces of art, look down into glass-enclosed cases and experience the museum architecture. Other parts of the tour let you learn more about different artists whose works are featured within the exhibits as well as view their creations.

5. Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

This virtual church tour is unlike any other that you may have seen. The iconic Roman Catholic basilica was designed by the visionary Antoni Gaudí, so the architecture combines unexpected elements with the traditional. You can see views of several unique interior rooms, as well as sweeping vistas of the unusual exterior – which is still under construction – and the surrounding city.

6. White House, Washington, D.C.

Go behind the scenes at the White House – no background check or Secret Service escort required. You’ll see the insides of a number of famous rooms, which are decorated with notable antiques, sculptures and paintings. You can also click through a gallery of portraits of former presidents and first ladies.

7. Metropolitan Opera, New York City

The Met has begun streaming some of the greatest operas that have been performed on its stage, through its new free Nightly Met Opera Streams series. Every night, they offer a different production, with each opera available through its website for a 20-hour period, so that you can watch at your convenience rather than settling in front of your screen at 7:30 p.m. ET. The streaming series will be offered the entire time that the Met is closed. Use this opportunity to get your fill of opera or find out if you enjoy the genre without paying for a ticket.

8. National Aquarium, Baltimore

The underwater residents of this well-known aquarium have been captured in 360-degree images within this virtual tour, allowing you to see fish, sharks and other creatures in their habitats – without fear of them swimming away. By clicking on an interactive map of the facility, you can choose to look at jellyfish, coral reefs, creatures from tropical rain forests and more.

9. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

Get up close and personal with Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, a lunar module and countless other airplanes and spacecraft with this extensive virtual tour, which lets you explore the halls of the museum and its companion facility, the Udvar-Hazy Center, and check out the exhibits all around you. Don’t forget to look up.

10. Uffizi Galleries, Florence, Italy

Within this world-renowned museum’s virtual tours, you can explore the lengths of exhibit-filled hallways and “walk” into different galleries, getting intimate looks at different paintings, sculptures and ceiling frescoes. You can also click through collections to view famous paintings that are housed at the museum, such as Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.

11. Stonehenge, England

The interactive Google Maps feature within the online virtual tour of this World Heritage Site lets you wander in and around the giant stone formations while gazing at the green countryside. You can also click through an exhibition about some of the artifacts found in the area, shedding light on the people who lived near Stonehenge centuries ago.

12. Broadway Shows, New York City

Sing along with your favorite show tunes, see the Shakespeare production that you didn’t mean to miss or watch your favorite celebrity onstage. Broadway HD is offering a seven-day free trial on its website, which allows you to watch any number of its musicals, comedies and dramas from Broadway theaters and other notable stages around the world, plus ballets, Cirque du Soleil performances and more. —Lisa Fields