Whether it's artist podcasts via Spotify, talk rounds via Zoom or Street View across gallery rooms - the museums in North Rhine-Westphalia have come up with creative digital formats to transform your living room into art palaces for a short time. The beauty is that the virtual museum visits are interactive, family-friendly and encourage you to get involved. Here are our three highlights:


Museum Folkwang in Essen

A museum podcast, a digital exhibition and a 360° tour - the Museum Folkwang in Essen relies on a wide variety of digital formats © Elke Brochhagen

The Museum:

Since its foundation in 1902, the Museum Folkwang in Essen has been one of the most renowned art museums in Germany. In addition to paintings and sculptures of the 19th century, it shows contemporary art and is a permanent exhibition venue for photography. The centerpiece, however, is the collection of works of classical modernism, which includes artworks by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse. 

And that's how you experience it digitally:

The Museum Folkwang has joined the Google Arts & Culture project: With Google Street View, you can move through the museum's exhibition rooms in 360° and experience museum flair. The great thing is that there are digital wall panels next to the paintings - simply click on the blue dots and a detailed view of the respective works appears with the corresponding description. If a tour by mouse click is too cumbersome for you, you can also simply click your way through the collection. Here, too, when you select a work, a digital wall panel appears. 

The Google online exhibition "Vincent van Gogh up close" is also exciting and even has something to offer over an analog museum visit: You click through selected works by the famous Dutch painter as if in a book of photographs. The advantage of this digital experience is that an automatic zoom magnifies remarkable aspects of the paintings that you might otherwise have missed. 

You can access the digital tours here.

Our Tip:

The museum podcast Radio Folkwang accompanies the online exhibition. In each episode, museum staff enter into a dialog with art scholars and artists or other guests to take a closer look at selected works from the collection. And there's more: many of the episodes deal with the "big" debates of our time and can thus also be listened to independently of the virtual exhibition visit. For example, the question of what impact increasing digitization is having on art and society is explored. It's all pretty meta - but that's part of art anyway.

Go to the podcast here.


Cologne Wallraf Richartz Museum

The Museum:

Whether offline or online, anyone touring the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum enters a world-class museum. It is famous above all for its medieval collection, which is one of the most important art collections of this era in the world. The highlight: Stefan Lochner's famous work Mother of God in the Rose Arbor. But also in the other rooms hang works of art by painters who might be known even to art philistines among you: Beginning with the baroque artists Rubens and Rembrandt and ending with modern painters like van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin, the museum shows numerous classics of European art history. 

And that's how you experience it digitally: 

With a 360° tour, all gallery spaces of the museum can be "entered". It works like this: At the beginning of the tour, you select a floor and then move through the rooms using the "hotspots" on the floor. There, luminous frames decorate the highlights of the respective exhibition. When you click on them, short texts and audio or video tracks appear. These, by the way, are made particularly original in terms of narration: the audio contribution to Lochner's portrait of the Virgin Mary, for example, sounds like an episode on a true-crime podcast. Good to know: For each room there is a room text that describes the theme of the respective gallery room. 

Go to the tour here.

Our tips: The magnifying glass feature, which lets you admire certain aspects of a painting in detail. For example, if you zoom in on the halo of Our Lady in Lochner's depiction of the Virgin Mary, you will see that the ornament depicts lunar cycles. You can find out what this is all about in the accompanying texts. The museum rally for children to take home is exciting. In addition to puzzles about the museum's artworks, children are encouraged to be creative themselves. 

You can get to the museum rally here.


Düsseldorf Palace of Art

The Museum:

The Museum Kunstpalast in the expressionist building ensemble Ehrenhof in Düsseldorf sees itself as a citizens' initiative and has been a central meeting place for Düsseldorfers since its founding. What makes it special is that the museum, which unites almost all genres of art from the Middle Ages to the present under one roof, relates European art history to the Düsseldorf art scene in many of its exhibitions. The Kunstpalast enjoys international renown above all for its collection of important hand drawings from the Italian Baroque period. 

And that's how you experience it digitally: 

The digital collection comprises over 13,000 works, and you can click through them from the comfort of your own home. More exciting, however, are the virtual exhibitions that you can find on the website (which, by the way, has a pretty cool design and is more reminiscent of an online magazine). In addition to short texts about the works, you'll find elaborately designed videos, from trailers to talk shows. Especially great is the video format "Kunststück," in which experts present their favorite works from the respective exhibitions.

Go to the "feats here.

You can access the digital collection here

And here the link to the digital exhibitions

Our Tip: The 360° tour through the rooms of the international exhibition Empört euch!, which deals with the relationship between art and anger against the backdrop of current political conditions. Click and drag to navigate easily through the gallery spaces. Blue and yellow dots light up on the walls, behind which are wall panels and various video formats. The photo-realistic exhibition is so intricately designed that it makes you feel as if you're actually there. If you're lacking in interaction, simply follow the exhibit on Instagram and chat with the museum team or other followers there. Also great: the new talk series Palast Talks, which you can listen to live via Zoom, and the podcast series Voice on Art, which is available on Spotify.

Here the link to the exhibition.

Go to the palace talks here.

And to the podcast once here click.

Cover photo: Whether palace talks or video tracks - the Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf shows itself to be close to the people even in lockdown times © Anne Orthen

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