BlackBook Virtual Travel: Three London Museums Go Digital

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, Courtesy of the Tate Modern 



For those of us for whom travel is a necessary component of our psychological stability, lockdown has forced us into a mode of daydreaming of distant lands, while we wait out this harrowing coronavirus crisis.

Naturally, our Anglophilic tendencies have found us re-binging Downtown Abbey and The Crown…which in turn has pitched our longing for our feet to be touching down once again on sacred UK soil. But virtual visuals have kept us surprisingly engaged, especially where museum exhibitions are concerned. And three hallowed London cultural institutions specifically were already featuring shows that should have been decisively logged into your calendars.

So while we wait for word of their hopefully imminent re-openings, we highly recommend making fascinating digital visits…and perhaps timing them to a proper sheltering-in afternoon tea.

(N.B. – Find more virtual tours at


The V&A

One of our most exalted museums period, the V&A has long helped us to understand how style and aesthetics have played into our ability to comprehend art, history and humanity itself. Current exhibitions for viewing online include Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, which explores the visual and social significance of perhaps Asia’s most identifiable garment; and Bags: Inside Out, a survey of the most coveted fashion accessory in history, from Chatelaine to Louis Vuitton.


Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk


The Tate Modern

Tragically, the Tate Modern was enthusiastically planning its 20th anniversary, whilst we were enthusiastically planning to attend the corresponding festivities. And indeed, featured works were to include the estimable likes of Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama and Lee Mingwei. Yet we doubt the museum will be able to reopen by its scheduled May 11 celebration date. However, the Tate in the meanwhile has just launched a virtual tour of its recently opened Andy Warhol exhibit, which includes his infamous 1986 Self-Portrait, and 1962’s storied Marilyn Diptych.


Yayoi Kusama, Chandelier of Grief


The British Museum

What The Met is to New York, the British Museum is to London, certainly. To be sure, its current/postponed exhibitions included everything from Edvard Munch: love and angst, all the way to Inspired by the East: how the Islamic world influenced Western art. And in conjunction with Google Street View, one can now virtually visit more than 60 galleries, taking in the Rosetta Stone and even a Michelangelo or two. The museum also has a series of podcasts, dating back to 2016—and we highly recommend the episode about the history of their beloved in-house cats, for a necessary bit of levity.


Pippin, Maisie and Poppet
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