Museums capture moments in history from all over the world. Whether that be wartime politics, immigration patterns, the shifting landscapes of a country, or its art, museums have always been a fantastic source of and a hub for culture. As visitors browse exhibitions, they are immersed in the culture of the artists’ work on display.
You may be asking yourself: how can museums, especially art museums, in particular, help with language learning? Art is a fantastic way to absorb language and culture. When you have an image to associate a word with, it usually sticks in your brain for much longer. And while art isn’t necessarily the life-hack or ultimate cheat to learning a language, visual representations definitely help!
The global pandemic has put a crutch on our ability to get out and observe all of the beautiful artifacts museums have to offer. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some museums you can visit virtually.
British Museum, London
The British Museum in London, founded in 1753, was the first national museum opened to the general public. They house over eight million artifacts, ranging from Afrikaans cultures all the way out to Oceania. Such artifacts span from paintings to statues and pottery to preserved-in-time clothing. You can navigate through the virtual tour’s sidebar and enjoy exhibitions on Power and Identity, Art and Design, Trade and Conflict, and more! Or, if you just want to start from the beginning to the museum’s end, you can scroll through the Time Period map from AD 2000 to 2,000,000 BC.
The British Museum’s virtual tour can be found here: https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/.
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Digitally transport yourself into the artistic world of Paris by visiting Musée d’Orsay! This museum’s collection contains work from the 19th century, including mediums such as oil paints, and movements such as impressionism, modern art, and post-impressionism, to name a few. You can navigate the paintings by medium and time period, or you can view them in the museum’s street view to feel like you’re really there!
Musée d’Orsay’s virtual tour can be accessed through Google Arts & Culture: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/musee-dorsay-paris.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul houses an array of Eastern styles of art. Their exhibition, “How to Create a Landscape,” explores the cultural differences between Western and Eastern interpretations of how they construct landscapes in art. These pieces analyze the artists’ Interpretation, Vision and Colors, and Transformation. You can read each exhibit’s label in either Korean or English.
You can immerse yourself in Korea’s contemporary art by visiting the VR tour here: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=hwQqHV9zP3e
The National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, Mexico, has 23 exhibits featuring archaeological history and ethnographic exhibits that detail current indigenous groups in Mexico. You can explore the Aztec culture by looking at the museum’s street view, and you’ll feel like you’re standing right in front of the Aztec god of fire, Xiuhtecuhtli. Many of these exhibitions are in Spanish, but you can find some labels written in English.
The link to the National Museum of Anthropology’s virtual tour can be accessed here: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/museo-nacional-de-antropologia-mexico.
Experience paintings in a different way by visiting the Rijksmuseum’s virtual tour. The museum features its own “From Home” exhibition, where you can transport yourself not only into the building itself but into the paintings too! This virtual tour includes audio that immerses you in the painting’s atmosphere with music from the work’s period and interactive narration.
You can find the link to their virtual tour here: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/masterpieces-up-close.
Engrossing yourself in another culture is an integral part of learning a language. Making an effort to treat other cultures with curiosity and respect connects us all together.
You can start your language journey by ordering a Jarvisen Smart Translator today.