Nothing to do over the weekend? Why not expand your horizons from the comfort of your laptop by hopping online and visiting some of the best virtual museums in Canada. 

Some of the largest and most venerable art galleries and museums in Canada have made their entire collections available to the public free online. The best of these online exhibits don’t just offer pictures and descriptions, but multimedia content and guided virtual museum tours by expert curators. Some even offer personalized virtual tours and discussions, as well as fun activities. 

Plan your next virtual museum tour at some of the best virtual museums in Canada. 

National Gallery of Canada

The largest art gallery in Canada, the National Art Gallery in Canada is home to over 93,000 pieces from both Canada and across the world. The gallery’s Virtual NGC program gives guests access not just to the museum’s prodigious digital collection, but also curated virtual galleries and online exhibits where experts break down the artistic and historical merit of various pieces. They also have a number of videos dedicated to examining the iconic pieces of great artists like Gustav Klimt and the unofficial eighth founder of the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson. 

Royal Ontario Museum

One of the most famous and largest museums in Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum’s extensive online collection allows you to examine nearly 50,000 artifacts from across human history. You can subdivide the various collections by historical epoch, region, or scientific field. The Curators’ Choice collection offers a cross-section of online exhibits highlighted by the museum’s staff. 

The ROM also has a number of in-depth online exhibitions with audiovisual content, including the Blue Whale Project. This fascinating online exhibit documents a 2014 ROM expedition to salvage a Blue Whale that had washed ashore in Newfoundland. 

Canadian Museum for Human Rights 

Built in 2014 to commemorate and document the fight for human rights around the globe, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg offers three separate virtual tours that explore various aspects of the museum. You can also download the museum’s app for an unparalleled made-for-mobile virtual tour featuring narration from curators, pictures and videos. The museum’s online exhibitions tell the stories of tireless human rights activists from around the world, ranging from Nelson Mandela to Viola Desmond. 

Art Gallery of Ontario

One of the most celebrated art galleries in Canada, art buffs now have more virtual access to the Art Gallery of Ontario’s extensive collection than ever before with their new AGO From Home program. In addition to opening the doors of its virtual collection and producing varied, in-depth video content, the AGO also now hosts frequent private virtual art talks. Rather than a simple pre-recorded tour, these interactive forums offer a venue for art enthusiasts to discuss various pieces with the gallery’s curators and small, intimate groups. 

Canadian Museum of History

By visiting Canada’s national museum of national history online, you can see artifacts from across 20,000 years of Canadian history on the Canadian Museum of History’s virtual tour. Featuring some of the most robust virtual options of any virtual museum in Canada, the Canadian Museum of History’s virtual tour lets you explore the museum’s three Great Halls and galleries as though you were actually there. 

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The museum also offers a number of online exhibitions, including one centered on indigenous artist Alex Janvier’s Morning Star, a mural adorning the dome of the museum’s Haida Gwaii salon. The CMH’s Museum at Home program also features a number of fun activities you can enjoy with the kids, including traditional recipes, art projects and even crossword puzzles. 

Virtual Museum of Canada

A federal program dedicated to helping Canadian museums set up online exhibits and virtual museum tours, the Virtual Museum of Canada is also an excellent web portal for history buffs. No matter your area of interest, the Virtual Museum of Canada can connect you to online exhibitions ranging from indigenous art exhibits to virtual tours of National Historic Sites. 

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