You can still tour mu­se­ums – from your liv­ing room

We of­fer a list of na­tional trea­sures online where you can shop for gifts, too.

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Maria Puente

Even in the ab­sence of a cri­sis, mu­se­ums are refuges of calm and con­tem­pla­tion; in these anx­ious times, they are more needed than ever. ❚ But most mu­se­ums and art gal­leries are now closed be­cause of the coro­n­avirus, and we’re all stuck at home for a while, so what to do? The an­swer: vir­tual tours. ❚ As it hap­pens, Google Arts and Cul­ture part­nered with more than 2,500 mu­se­ums and gal­leries around the world to offer vir­tual tours of their col­lec­tions and spa­ces, way be­fore the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

You could spend hours here trav­el­ing the world – or even just mu­se­um­clogged New York City.

Purists will say noth­ing sub­sti­tutes for ac­tu­ally see­ing a work of art or an ar­ti­fact in per­son – es­pe­cially not peer­ing at it in pix­els on a small screen. And the purists are right.

But these are not pure times, and even without a pan­demic, plenty of peo­ple are un­able to travel to see the world’s trea­sures in per­son.

So a vir­tual tour, es­pe­cially when it’s offered through in- room set­tings, is bet­ter than no tour at all.

You’d rather be shop­ping? Keep in mind, al­most ev­ery mu­seum now of­fers de­lec­ta­ble gifts and art through online shop­ping.

Here are some to try in the United States:

Na­tional Gallery of Art, Wash­ing­ton, D. C.

The na­tion’s pre­mier peo­ple- owned art mu­seum lists over 42,000 art­works online, and two spe­cial “ex­hibits”:

CINDY ORD/ GETTY IMAGES

The Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art in New York City's phys­i­cal space is closed, but it of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of vir­tual tours.

MARK WIL­SON/ GETTY IMAGES

Former Pres­i­dent Barack Obama stands with his and former first lady Michelle Obama's por­traits in Fe­bru­ary 2018 at the Smith­so­nian's Na­tional Por­trait Gallery in Wash­ing­ton, D. C.

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