10 Museums in the West to Explore From Home

It’s easier than ever to enjoy iconic collections from afar.

Fine art paintings hanging on the wall of the de Young Museum in San Francisco
The de Young is home to the most comprehensive collection of American art in the West.
Asif Islam / Shutterstock

Wander the halls of the de Young, sip on prohibition stories, and get inside the original Air Force One, all without leaving your couch. While the front doors may be locked, world-class museums around the West are inviting visitors to explore their latest digital delights. Where to first?

The de Young Museum

The de Young Museum, the crown jewel of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, goes beyond the standard digital collection with this extensive museum guide presented by Google. You can view online exhibits and collections of famous American works, or glide through the halls on a virtual walking tour.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

If modern art is more your jam, SFMOMA’s #MuseumFromHome initiative provides a window into their extensive collection with digital exhibitions, artist interviews, interesting reads, and more added weekly. The breadth of their online content nearly matches the scale of the physical museum, one of the largest of its class in the United States.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

J. Paul Getty was known for his appetite for underappreciated and undervalued art, and he obsessively filled his collection with 18th-Century European furniture and Renaissance paintings, often bought at bargain prices. Even when these works can’t be viewed in person in Los Angeles, this digital guide ensures that the masterpieces can still be enjoyed. 

Stardust marquee at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Stardust Marquee is one of the classic signs that light up the Neon Museum in Las Vegas.

Courtesy Neon Museum, Inc.

Neon Museum

Las Vegas’s past, present, and future shine through the iconic neon signage that dominates its skyline. The Neon Museum, established in 1996 to pay tribute to the artform and its role in the history of Sin City, hosts a virtual guide to its eye-catching collection on their website, from the Moulin Rouge to the Hard Rock Cafe.

The Mob Museum

Instead of binging on The Sopranos, immerse yourself in the West's history of organized crime with an interactive trip through the Prohibition era. The online exhibition from the Mob Museum is an exhaustive study of the ties between that transformative era, which began 100 years ago in January 1920, and the organized crime that flourished in its wake. Complete with games, trivia, and interactive maps, the Las Vegas-based museum leaves no stone unturned.

Portland Japanese Garden

Art is just as easily found in nature and landscaping as it is in painting and sculpture, as evidenced by the Portland Japanese Garden, a 12-acre paradise nestled in Washington Park. Virtual tours and videos of the lush garden, deemed the finest public Japanese garden in Northern America by experts of the craft, are sure to inspire tranquility, even from afar.

View of airplanes at the Seattle Museum of Flight

See inside the Seattle Museum of Flight.

Elena_Suvorova / Shutterstock

Museum of Flight

Seattle’s Museum of Flight, one of the premier aerospace museums in the world, boasts a collection of more than 175 historic air and spacecraft. Its virtual museum is a chance for wannabe pilots and the curious to step inside iconic planes like the Boeing 747, Concorde, and SAM 970, and the original Air Force One.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

From Japanese woodblock prints and historical artifacts to a celebration of Robert Smithson’s land art masterpiece “Spiral Jetty,” UMFA’s curated “At Home” exhibit is a deep dive into the Salt Lake City institution’s extensive collection. Digital art lessons and printable coloring pages round out their offerings.

Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil exhibit at the Museum of the Rockies in Boseman, Montana

A Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Museum of the Rockies.

Hugh K Telleria / Shutterstock

Museum of the Rockies

The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, is the place to be for dinosaur lovers, but you don’t have to make the trip to enjoy one of the largest collections of paleontological fossils in the world. Their dino-experts have handpicked a list of educational videos, games, livestream events in addition to a virtual tour of the museum.

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Santa Fe is home to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, a monument to the legacy of one of the most notable modernist artists (and Santa Fe residents) of all time. The museum’s digital presence offers visitors a chance to learn about O’Keeffe’s life, art, and legacy through online collections, activities, and video tours of her Abiquiú-based home.