Various cultural institutions in our country our reminding the public of the wealth of digital resources they have online including virtual tours, access to their collections, educational material and even a video game.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak in Spain and the escalating number of cases in the past few weeks, strict health measures have been taken to prevent the virus from spreading, which has involved cancelling many cultural activities and the closure of museums and art galleries. We are one of the countries with the greatest cultural influence in the world and even though these institutions have had to close their doors, the amount of cultural activities available to the general public has only increased. The country’s most important galleries have increased their online presence and organised a series of virtual guided tours, educational material, videos and podcasts discussing some of their most important works of art. Here are just a few of the activities that museums and art galleries have organised to help us pass the time at home:
National Archaeological Museum
If we talk about virtual tours, the National Archaeological Museum is, along with the Thyssen, the one that offers the most immersive experience. Through its website manvirtual.es (it is also possible to access it through its app for mobiles), visitors are taken through the different rooms of the museum (from the Palaeolithic to the Modern Age) where they can learn more about each piece just by clicking on them.
There is also an impressive Virtual Classroom, with the contents of the virtual visit of the museum adapted to each educational level and school curriculum, with additional teaching materials. The Virtual Classroom also has its own app.
The Prado Museum
It was one of the first cultural institutions to react to the closure of the museums. From the very first day of closure, Thursday, 12 March, it launched the initiative #PradoContigo, the hashtag and slogan it has used to promote the extra activities and resources it is offering on social media, such as virtual guided tours, programmes such as the Prado Encyclopaedia, videos giving commentaries on famous works of art, educational material for children and even a video game to tour the museum in a highly entertaining and innovative way.
The Thyssen Museum
When it comes to technology and multimedia, the Thyssen Museum is also a reference. Users can take virtual tours of the museum’s facilities and its permanent collection, accompanied by commentaries of the most important works. A tour that also offers videos on specific exhibitions, restorations, conferences and a symposium, that are all available on the Thyssen Multimedia site.
In its education area, EducaThyssen, the institution offers an extensive catalogue of online courses, resources and digital content on art and museums, for experts, academics and people interested in art in general. In ConectaThyssen, the museum offers access to mobile applications, online publications, 360 videos, webdocs and apps such as the Second Canvas Thyssen, which allows the visitor to look in-depth at some of the museum’s masterpieces through different story telling programmes; and in Giga Thyssen, the visitor can zoom in and look in-depth at some of the works with gigapixel quality.
The Reina Sofia Museum
Spain’s largest centre for contemporary art also continues to operate through social media and digital platforms. They offer 170 videos of current and past exhibitions, another 70 of activities carried out by the museum, as well as a series of podcasts on the Reina Sofía Museum’s Radio. Also on offer is Rethinking Guernica, a monographic website dedicated to an in-depth analysis of its most famous works and one of Pablo Picasso’s greatest masterpieces, with the highest possible resolution so you can appreciate the most imperceptible details of this masterpiece.
The Museu d’Art Comtemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) also wanted to remind the public of the wealth of digital resources they have online that allows them to bring their collection closer to those at home. One of the easiest ways in which to do this is through its mobile app, where users can access images, videos, audio guides, interesting facts and documents detailing the works of their collection. The content is similar to that available on its website, where the visitor can take virtual tours: offering transversal itineraries through the contents of the website organized according to specific areas of interest or academic criteria. All of this is available alongside the extra resources they are offering on social media these days, where they are offering commentaries on various works of art.
The Picasso Museum of Malaga
The Picasso Museum in Malaga, founded in 2003, is also reminding us that despite the closure of the museum until further notice, it also has many multimedia resources which we can access from the comfort of our home. One example is its Soundcloud channel, where conferences, seminars, poetry recitals, sound tours of exhibitions and many other activities are on offer. They are also offering a virtual tour of the Genealogies of Art exhibition, through a selection of works of art by Picasso, Kandinksy and Cézanne and their corresponding audio guides. In addition, there is a complete review of Picasso’s work with descriptions and chronological routes in order to find out more about one of Malaga’s most internationally renowned painters.
Other museums and virtual cultural tours
In addition to these five museums, there are many other cultural centres and spaces that have virtual tours and audiovisual material that allows us to visit their collections and exhibitions without leaving home. Among them, and taking advantage of the technology of the Google Arts & Culture platform, we can find the project Maravillas de Andalucía (Wonders of Andalusia), where through the Street view technology we can visit 61 museums and Andalusian sites, among them Medina Azahara (Córdoba), the Alcazaba of Almería, the dolmens of Antequera (Málaga) and the Roman site of Italica (Seville).
Thanks to this platform, the Museo de la Evolución Humana (Museum of Human Evolution) in Burgos also encourages the public to visit its virtual exhibition, offering three different tours of its permanent exhibition.