You can tour each room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and get up close to paintings with the new Google Cultural Institute feature.

Credit: Google Art Project

Take A Virtual Tour Of The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

March 18, 2014

You may be familiar with Google Streetview, which can virtually drop you on sidewalks all over the world for a look around. Now, Google is using that same technology to take you inside museums. 

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will be the first local museum to open its doors to the Google Cultural Institute. The Gardner is one of a handful of museums in the world (including Versailles, the White House, and the Musee D'Orsay in Paris) that you can navigate from the comfort of your home.

WGBH arts editor Jared Bowen was at Tuesday's announcement at the Gardner Museum. He told Greater Boston that Google created a small vehicle with tiny high definition cameras attached to it that traveled throughout the museum and captured 360-degree images of each room and the artwork within each room.

Steve Vinter, the director of Google Engineering, said the company hopes to provide access to collections for people who otherwise may not be able to visit the museum. 

Gardner Museum director Anne Hawley said she's weighed the liabilities of putting the art within their museum online for free.

"We don't want the virtual experience to replace the authentic being there- looking at the actual object experience, and to date that doesn't appear that that's the case. But, will the children who are born with the iPad in their hand, virtually-- will they feel the same way? I think that's the longer term question," she said.

Take the virtual tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum by clicking here. Watch the full segment on Greater Boston above.

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