With its Cultural Institute, Google has brought the street view mentality to the art and museum world, allowing users to travel around the globe to see hundreds of collections and archives without ever leaving the couch. The cultural hotspots are divided into the categories: “Art Project,” “Historic Moments” and “World Wonders,” each offering different ways to interact virtually. It’s the next best thing to being there.
1. Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes
Tour the lava tubes on this South Korean island and World Heritage Site.
2. Giza Necropolis
Walk up to the Great Sphinx and gaze at the Great Pyramids in Cairo.
3. Great Barrier Reef
Get a fish-eye view of the most extensive coral reef system in the world.
4. Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch
Peep a 360-degree view at the top of the snow-covered mountains.
5. Historic Route 66, United States
Take a drive down legendary Route 66.
ART PROJECT/HISTORIC MOMENTS
6. California Academy of Sciences
Examine dozens of 3D animal skulls—from the California Grizzly to the Amazon River Dolphin.
7. Ford’s Theatre
Step inside Ford’s Theatre, view artifacts like John Wilkes Booth's derringer, and get a history of the building itself and the fateful night that put it in the history books.
8. Research & Development Production Enterprise Zvezda
See the evolution of the spacesuit at this Russian manufacturing organization.
9. São Paulo Street Art
Experience Brazilian street art firsthand, then see how the rest of the world does graffiti. The database includes collections from Slovakia, Thailand, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, and many others.
10. The Construction of the Eiffel Tower
Neither Rome nor the Eiffel Tower was built in a day, and this digital exhibit walks you through the entire process with stories, drawings, and amazing photographs of the tower as it was built.
11. Scientific Art in Victoria, Australia
From the Museum Victoria, this exhibit contains images that show in stunning detail a variety of natural history illustrations from 1850 to 1900.
12. The Dodd Collection
If you prefer the real thing when it comes to the natural world, the Queensland Museum has the F.P & A.P. Dodd Collection of Tropical Insects from Australia and New Guinea with elaborately arranged cases of colorful beetles and butterflies.
13. The Museum of Modern Art
Jump from room to room and floor to floor in an empty, virtual version of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. You might want to start on the 5th floor, which is where The Starry Night resides.
14. National Portrait Gallery
If people are your passion, scope the collection at the National Portrait Gallery.
15. The Art Project Page
The closest thing to an internet art museum, the Art Project page on the Cultural Institute site is a gallery of high quality images from around the world, across time and medium. If you see something you like, it will even suggest others you might be interested in—kind of like shopping for art.