Stay-at-home orders are wreaking havoc on society as they spread across the nation. One silver lining is that the car community is coming together to help enthusiasts get through this difficult time. Many museums in America and abroad are notably letting anyone with an internet connection take a virtual tour of their collection.
After announcing a series of online lectures for kids whose schools are closed, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles said it will offer live-streamed tours of the 250-plus cars tucked away in its 60,000-square-foot vault. Each online tour lasts for 60 minutes, so you'll have plenty of time to take in the cars, and the guide will provide fascinating details about each model while showing its exterior, its interior, and what's under the hood.
There are five tours planned as of writing, and each one has a theme. The one scheduled for March 27 at 11 am PST will highlight performance cars and hot rods. Those who tune in at 11 am PST on March 28 and April 4 will get a full vault tour. There's a look at presidential and post-war cars scheduled for April 1 (no joke) at 2 pm PST, while those more interested in pre-war cars will have a digital field day on April 3 at 11 am PST. It's reasonable to assume additional tours will be added to the schedule in the coming days.
The museum is temporarily closed to the public, so it's asking enthusiasts who participate in the tours to make a donation. It's win-win; viewers help the museum get through a difficult time, while its knowledgeable staff teaches them about history by showing off some of the rarest and most unusual pieces in its collection.
Google Maps is helping out, too. Collections available for viewing include the BMW Zentrum in South Carolina, the Honda Collection Hall in Japan, the Mazda museum in Japan, the Mercedes-Benz museum in Germany, Kentucky's National Corvette Museum, and the Skoda museum in the Czech Republic. Maps also brings the Lamborghini and Ferrari museums even closer than they are in real life, and it lets you take a digital stroll through Porsche's collection in Stuttgart right after you've wrapped up your visit of the Lane Motor Museum in Tennessee. It's not the same as seeing the cars in person, but it's much cheaper than flying around the world to take it all in and having to check an extra bag on your way home because you spent too much on souvenirs.
Not to toot our own horn, but Autoblog is also an excellent place to learn about automotive history. We published a 10-minute video of Honda's aforementioned Collection Hall that highlights some of the greatest cars the company has ever made, and we recently showcased an intriguing electric Volvo prototype from 1976 as well as the very first Toyota Land Cruiser sold in the United States. In 2019, we drove six classic Volkswagen models back to back and six generations of the Toyota Land Cruiser. With most global car launches put on hiatus, the time is right to sit back, relax, and explore the models that carried the automotive industry to 2020.