Today’s virtual field trip is to one of the largest museums in the world – the Louvre in Paris, France. It contains about 35,000 priceless objects dating from the dawn of history to the 19th century. Built 800 years ago, this historic monument was originally a fortress. The Louvre later served as a royal palace. It now stands as the art museum with the most visitors per year (over eight million). Gather the family, make sure the computer is charged, and grab a loaf of French bread – we’re going to Paris. Wheee! (Or should I say, Oui?)
Enter the Louvre Online
The Home Page of the Louvre’s official website is a perfect introduction to the famous museum. The first thing you’ll see will be impressive images of the Louvre along with ready links to some of the its most famous masterpieces, such as the Mona Lisa.
You’ll also be greeted by an animated cartoon of Dominique Vivant Denon, inviting you into his workshop. Denon was a French diplomat, writer, and archeologist who was appointed to be the Louvre’s first director by Napoleon in 1804. Click on Denon’s character and you’ll be taken to his treasure trove of exhibits which include an ancient Greek vase, an Egyptian statue, a medieval sword, and an ornate chess set from the Middle Ages. Click on any of the interactive items in the workshop to see a short video about that artifact.
The videos are great for both kids and parents because, although they are animated, they are also very informative. After the video is over, you’ll automatically be taken to a web page where you can read more about the object you just saw in the video. On each of these pages you’ll find a drawing of a trap door. Click on it to return to Denon’s workshop.
Virtual Tour of the Louvre
Get a sense of what it must feel like to stand face to face with the Venus de Milo. Take a Virtual Tour of the Louvre to experience a 360 degree panoramic view of many of the museum’s halls. The virtual tour web page offers different departments and architectural views of the museum. Click on any of them and you’ll be taken to a page that lists the available virtual tours. For each one of them you will find the word "view" - click on the word and the tour will begin. Move your mouse to look around the various rooms. You can even zoom into the picture to get a better view of the exhibits. Tours include:
Vive La Louvre!
Let’s finish our virtual field trip with a few useful links. The Louvre Museum in Paris gives helpful facts for people considering an actual visit. This page includes museum hours, transportation information, and a list of nearby attractions. How To Enjoy the Louvre is a web page with more detailed info about visiting the museum, including tips on how to get the most out of your trip. Visit History of the Louvre for a fascinating article which tells all about the great museum’s past.