Virtual tours: the solution to museum closures

Since the coronavirus crisis, museums have had to close their doors to the public. This sad news has led to a significant drop in visitor numbers, and therefore in profitability. In response to this problem, some museums are offering their users a virtual tour for a fee.

A complicated situation pushing museums towards digital activities

Following the measures put in place by the government, museums have also been affected by the financial crisis. They have therefore been obliged to face up to this phenomenon by innovating in a more digital and remotely accessible medium, thus preventing the virus from spreading.

They then opted for virtual tours based on 360° shots. Indeed, this medium offers the possibility of viewing all the museum's creations in 3D while following a route predefined by the museum's teams. 

This would enable visitors to enjoy an immersive, realistic and new experience. It's a solution that more and more museums are adopting, as they see the quality and benefits of the experience.


The impact of virtual tours on museum attendance

Virtual tours in augmented reality have been developed mainly abroad. 

This is notably the case with the former home of Elvis Presley, which offers a 2-hour tour of this mythical place for 100$ per person. A visit that has worked rather well since more than 300 people have participated in the first two visits organized. 

Since the success of Graceland, the Metropolitan Museum of New York has subjected its exhibitions to the principle of the virtual visit: for $300 per group of up to 40 adults, and $200 for students, users can discover the exhibition "A New Look at Old Masters" via their computer. This offer recorded a total of more than 2,800 visitors between July and December. 

In France, the concept is also beginning to be democratized, especially in Parisian museums. The Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay also offered this service, enabling them to have many international visitors despite the circumstances.

Nevertheless, some museums are using augmented reality in a different way. The Château de Versailles, the Grand Palais and the Perrotin Gallery have joined forces to bring their works to life on Instagram. Indeed, on each of the accounts you will find a 3D representation of the most famous sculptures such as the Statue of Liberty, Michelangelo's Moses, the Lady of Brassempouy and the Aurigy of Delphi.
You can then test them in your environment and get some information about each of them. Instagram filters created to keep in touch with their communities through a new visual medium.

In addition, it should be noted that some museums are currently working on the design of virtual tours in augmented reality. This is notably the case for the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which states that the subject is under consideration.


Virtual tours have thus enabled many cultural institutions to stay in touch with their communities in view of the circumstances. A technology that has proved to be the solution to their questions and that will remain present in the future. Indeed, some are banking on the proximity of this service, which could be more convenient for foreign visitors and, above all, less expensive. From another point of view, some are banking on the exclusive and private side of this type of visit.