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British Museum Launches Virtual Tours

January 04, 2016

The days when you’d have to launch neighborhood-wide bake sales for four years to get your class a trip to a world-class museum are ancient history. Thanks to the partnership between the Google Cultural Institute and the British Museum, anyone with an Internet connection can virtually explore the seven acres of the museum’s floor space, and its 80,000 artifacts on display.

With a 3-D, interactive timeline that visually stretches into the past (similar to the opening text in Star Wars), you can view collection items that are color-coded by their geographic origin, or you can filter them thematically. Clicking on one object produces a pop-out identifier with a name and picture of the item, and lines linking it to other related objects on the timeline (an awesome way to illustrate just how far back in history globalization actually extends).

The Google Cultural Institute also features its own interactive visit to the British Museum, with 4,634 items, six exhibits, and even a walk-through program that (you guessed it) lets you virtually walk the museum’s floors and view the collection items as they’re actually laid out.

Founded in 1774, the British Museum is one of the oldest public museums in the world. Home to the Lewis Chessmen, the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles and more, it’s a great resource for any social studies or history class, especially those focusing on the ancient world.