At Atlas Obscura, we’re all about wonder and exploration—and since many of our readers are spending time at home to stay safe and healthy, we’re highlighting ways you can be awestruck no matter where you are.
As governments and medical workers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of us (including yours truly!) are hunkering down at home. Museums, libraries, galleries, and other treasure troves have paused their in-person programming as officials ask residents to practice social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
But a growing number of well-trod and more offbeat institutions have found ways to stoke your curiosity from wherever you are, with digital tours and livestreams. Here are a few ways to cultivate wonder without venturing beyond your living room.
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum Tour
Step into this San Jose, California, museum’s 360-degree gallery tours to learn about the afterlife, alchemy, and much more.
The Museum of London’s Fatberg Cam
When the Museum of London exhibited a putrid chunk of a fatberg in 2018, things got really gross, really quickly. Though the museum’s experts dried out the chunk, and tried to sanitize as best they could, it still went a bit funky in its vitrine, the museum reports—hatching flies, sweating, and changing color. The exhibit wrapped up and the fatberg is in storage, where it continues to molder. Since entering storage, the museum writes, the “fatberg has started to grow an unusual and toxic mould, in the form of visible yellow pustules.” You can stream this bit of sewage history 24 hours a day, for a reminder that nothing is forever, and gross things can always get grosser.
The Frick’s Garden Court Tour
The Frick Museum, an opulent house-turned-museum in New York City, is stuffed with stunning paintings and decorative arts. It’s also home to a blessedly peaceful garden court, flanked by leafy plants and bathed in light. Visit it in 360-degrees, and imagine you’re anywhere but your couch.
University of Oxford’s History of Science Museum
Google Arts & Culture Tours
Hundreds of large and small museums around the world showcase their galleries through tours and other online extras on Google’s Arts & Culture pages. You can zoom around the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, the British Museum, the National Museum in New Delhi, New York’s Guggenheim museum, and many, many more.
You might also want to click around Google Arts & Culture’s Open Heritage project and lose yourself in such 3D spaces as 12th-century Syrian bathhouses and Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral. For even more digital tours, follow the #MuseumFromHome hashtag on Twitter. Tell us about how you’re visiting museums remotely, and stay tuned: We’ll have many more ideas for finding wonder from home.
You can join the conversation about this and other stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums.