This March, the Louvre announced that it has put its entire art collection online. There are now more than 480,000 works of art available for anyone to look through at any time for free. The primary reason for this is that the museum is currently closed to visitors due to Paris’s COVID-19 lockdown.
Getting Started with the Collection
If you aren’t sure where to get started, you can use an interactive map to virtually explore the museum room by room. You can also search for a specific work of art that you might want your students to explore. You may browse the collection by theme or follow a themed collection made by the museum’s curatorial department. Along with thousands of paintings, there are also sculptures, jewelry, furniture, textiles, and historical objects.
The database of collections is continually updated with new works and new research. When using them in the classroom, keep in mind that the collections are free to browse, but are not open access, meaning you or your students cannot directly download, share, or reuse the images.
One of the museum’s most famous works of art is the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa painting is a half-length portrait by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci that has been described as the best known and the most visited work of art in the world.
Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass is a virtual reality experience that sets out to tell the real story of the painting. It then takes us on a journey back in time to the original setting where you get to meet the real woman da Vinci painted. You can also watch it in a 360-degree video or in VR with a Cardboard viewer. The app is available on Google Play Store and the Apple Store.
In addition, if you would like your students to learn about the theft of the Mona Lisa, you can visit the Louvre Kids section. It contains a short video about how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre at at one time.
Benefits of Virtual Field Trips
There are so many benefits of taking your students on a virtual field trip. As Lori Gracey pointed out on the Take the Learning Outside the Classroom blog post, seeing the Mona Lisa on the screen is not the same experience as being in front of it at a museum. But it is still an amazing occurrence that can broaden a student’s perspective.
So, take your students on a virtual field trip to visit the museum rooms and galleries. Allow them to admire the palace architecture and to just take in the views. Have them find their favorite piece of art and share why they like it so much. For more virtual field trip resources, be sure to check out our additional Technotes blogs.