Virtual Museums and Other Activities During Coronavirus Shelter In Place

I’m looking for activities to do with my school age daughter during the shelter in place. I saw this link on social media. I would like to get feedback on what is good, both for my personal social interchange and for a my own understanding of the limits of 360 images.

I’m in Silicon Valley, where everything is closed right now.

I’d like to discuss the use of 360 images and the limitations of the experiences. Here are some initial thoughts:

  • need some type of mechanism to exchange experiences with other people. I’m going to try and do the virtual museum experience with my family in the living room with chromecast to a TV. I would like to get experiences here on this topic
  • real-time docent-led tours might be an option in this shelter in place time. lacking official docent tours, I am thinking of assigning my daughter the task of researching the museums and presenting the works works of art from a single museum that she likes. This could also serve as practice for her presentation skills.

There appears to be 2,500 museums and collections online?

I’m going to try and virtual activities with my own family and will report back. In the meantime, I would enjoy feedback on the activities of other people.

The project was successful. I learned something about use of 360 images in docent-led museum presentations.

What the Event Was

  • teenage presenter in same physical room with Google Pixel controlling Google Slide and Streetview on large TV with Chromecast
  • Musee d’Orsay

This was practice for an online event.

What worked

  • overall, it worked and was successful
  • enjoyable for audience. fun.
  • great to get opinion and analysis of presenter in real-time
  • sparked discussion and in-depth understanding of art
  • decided to do more in the future

What didn’t work

  • Could not display Google Streetview from Google Arts and Culture using Pixel 2 to Chromecast. Had to use a computer and a physical monitor plugged into computer. this is still probably OK for online presentation.
  • I experienced motion sickness and got a headache from watching the art tour on a monitor. I didn’t use a headset. The other audience member also felt motion sickness, but did not get a headache
  • details of Google Streetview 360 images were not good enough. Based on audience questions, the presenter had to search for high-res images during the presentation


  • Doing an online event would take more practice and experience
  • Using 360 images to show someone else a guided tour is difficult. It would take much more practice with the speed of moving the sphere and how to link between spheres
  • Requires significant effort to prepare the material, especially high-resolution images
  • The docent would need to be an expert in the online exhibit, similar to how people at physical museums are experts with the layout of the physical museum. It wasn’t as easy as we had first thought.
  • Despite the difficulties with technology, the benefit of human interaction outweighed the problems with the technology
  • The 360 images provided additional value and we hope to continue using them. However, it was more difficult to use the images in presentation than we anticipated.

Student-created docent tour here.


This is really fantastic. I’d like to be able to sit in on one of these. I think a taylor-made commentary for a topic that I’m interested in significantly increases the fun.

On TV, they normally provide commentary for sports or other events. The level is not too beginner, not too advanced. But commentary that has an understanding of the audience (me) can really jump forward my understanding and enjoyment.

For example, sitting down to watch the Tour de France (cycling) with a good friend who has watched the race for years, means I get all the background and details on who’s interesting and what to watch out for that specific day. Much more fun than just sitting down and watching it myself.

Seems like the right time - especially now - to get these customized virtual tours.

If you’re practicing to show it online, you can create a video from a screencast and upload it to YouTube. That will give some feedback on the pacing and the movement of the Streetview 360 image spheres.