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Museum and Google launch Google Arts & Culture natural history

See the Natural History Museum’s world class collection come to life on Google Arts & Culture. 

A new online experience by Google and the Natural History Museum allows you to come face to face with jurassic giants and explore specimens from one of the world’s most important natural history collections, wherever you are.

The Museum and Google invite you to discover the diversity and fragility of nature in new ways through immersive technology experiences. Using technology and over 300,000 specimens from the Natural History Museum collection, go on a fascinating journey through the natural world over billions of years.  

The new online exhibition available on enables you to discover natural history treasures using state of the art technology to give a new virtual life to extinct and other unreachable animals and tell fascinating stories about some of the biggest challenges facing our planet today. 

With the help of indoor Street View, visitors can virtually walk through the Museum's most famous halls and galleries including Hintze Hall, the Treasures gallery, Dinosaurs and many others. There's also 11 virtual exhibitions, and over 300,000 digital specimens including the first T. rex fossil ever found, extinct mammoths and a skull from a narwhal, or 'sea unicorn', which inspired the mermaid stories. An interactive timeline tells a story of natural history discovery - a journey through time that brings together over 80 million specimens spanning from the beginning of life on Earth, to dinosaurs, birds, insects, and early humans.  

Street View imagery presents the stunning architecture of the Museum, including the famous Waterhouse building. Using gigapixel technology - a powerful photo capturing process that creates very high resolution imagery - the project captured the Hintze Hall ceiling, which is adorned with 162 intricate panels displaying a vast array of plants from all over the world, allowing a uniquely detailed and close-up view.

Thanks to the latest video and VR technology, you will come face-to-face with one of Museum's Jurassic giants in ways never been seen before. The YouTube 360 and Google Cardboard experiences teleports anyone, anywhere to the incredible Fossil Marine Reptile hall where you can  witness the Rhomaleosaurus - a sea dragon discovered in Dorset - coming back to life before your eyes and get close enough to notice the texture of its skin, and the movement of its muscles. This has been diligently recreated with the help of the Museum’s scientists, giving an accurate account of how these animals lived, and what it might have felt like to live alongside them. 

Additional virtual reality 360° panoramas and 3D images have been used to create a separate educational experience tailored for teachers and students. The resulting Google Expeditions, a virtual reality teaching tool built with Google Cardboard, enables teachers to bring students across the globe on virtual trips to the Museum. Annotated with details, points of interest, and questions that teachers can use, Expeditions are easy to integrate into existing curricula and create an extra special classroom experience.

Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum says:

'We want to challenge as many people as possible to think differently about the natural world, because now more than ever, understanding our past and present can help us all shape the future.  Working with Google Arts and Culture helps us to inspire the next generation of scientists and also to uncover new scientific insights from the collection using digital technology. This is the first step in a great new journey of discovery.'

Amit Sood, Director of the Google Cultural Institute says:

'We're delighted to work with the Natural History Museum and partners around the world on innovative projects to bring their incredible collections online. Technology can be used not only to make museum's treasures accessible to people around the world, but also to create new experiences for museum-goers. Starting in 2011, the Google Cultural Institute has helped more than 1000 cultural institutions open up their collections for any citizen of the world with access to the web, a computer, or a mobile phone.'

For this exhibition, natural history institutions from 16 countries have created over a 150 new digital exhibits, more than 30 virtual Street View tours through museums and 20 new Google Expeditions in collaboration with Google. The latest innovations in tech help bring the wonder of these legendary venues to life, and give everyone a chance to reconnect with our evolution story and think differently about our planet’s past, present and future. 

The new online exhibition opens today at and is open for all online, for free on the web and through the new Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android. You can watch all the 360 degree videos on YouTube. 

Notes to Editors

About Google Arts & Culture 

Google Arts & Culture is a new, immersive way to experience art, history, culture and world wonders from over a thousand organizations worldwide. Google Arts & Culture has been created by the Google Cultural Institute and it is available for free for everyone on the web, on iOS and Android.

About the Natural  History Museum

The Natural History Museum welcomes more than five million visitors a year and is a world-leading science research centre. Through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling the biggest challenges facing the world today. It helps enable food security, eradicate disease and manage resource scarcity. It is studying the diversity of life and the delicate balance of ecosystems to ensure the survival of our planet.

About Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions allows teachers to take their classes on virtual field trips, immersing students in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and giving students a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom. It draws upon Google’s strength in VR (ie. Cardboard), VR content and education technology (40+ million Google Apps for Education users). 

Expeditions enables teachers to bring students on virtual trips to places that a school bus could never go - museums, underwater, outer space. They are collections of linked VR content and supporting materials that can be used alongside existing curriculum. The teacher selects a destination, and the entire classroom jumps there automatically. Expeditions is a fundamentally social, in-class activity and provides a delightful and educational experience.

The Google Expeditions team is going on the road in the 2016-2017 academic year, taking the programme to thousands of schools all across the UK. The programme is free and open to all schools across the UK to sign up and take part. Teachers can sign up here to have the roadshow visit their school.