Google Expands its Access to Museums (but not yet Historic Sites)

Floor plan of the American Museum of National History displayed as a Google Map on a smartphone.

Google Maps recently expanded its capabilities of mapping indoor places (mostly  airports and shopping malls) by including two dozen museums in the United States (such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum, and the Smithsonia–the many museums that make up the Smithsonian Institution) and England (such as the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery).  Currently, this feature is only available on Android smartphones or tablets (that may seem limiting but nearly 2 million people have downloaded this app).  More museum maps are in the works but it doesn’t look like any historic sites are participating.  Consider how useful it would be to visitors at such places as Colonial Williamsburg, Gettysburg Battlefield, Sturbridge Village, the Huntington, and James Madison’s Montpelier.  If you’re interested in adding your site details to Google Maps, you can upload floor plans yourself or get help from Google.

In a similar vein, Google Street View just added 360-degree panoramic views of Yosemite and four other national parks in California.  And of course, these are nice complements to the Google Art Project.  It looks like Google is taking a much greater interest in museums along several paths, but historic sites currently seem to be left out of the mix.  I don’t think that’s intentional. I just think it’s a common oversight because most people don’t associate museums with historic sites.  Perhaps I’ll give them a call.

Thanks to John Durel for alerting me to this news item!

7 thoughts on “Google Expands its Access to Museums (but not yet Historic Sites)

  1. Amanda Gustin

    I know that Old Sturbridge Village had invited the Google Streetview cameras in last year, but it doesn’t look like that is up online yet.

    I wonder how simple it is to upload maps – and if there are any security concerns in doing so.


    1. Max van Balgooy Post author

      I haven’t tried uploading a map yet, but it looks like it’s edited by Google to match their style and format. I also wondered about security, so I’d definitely keep the information to what’s already available from other public sources, such as brochures and directories (and don’t identify behind-the-scenes places like “collections storage”, “silver vault”, “security”, or “treasury”!). 🙂


  2. Starlyn D'Angelo

    Shaker Heritage Society has created a virtual reconstruction of the Albany Shaker Church Family via Google Earth and Google 3D Warehouse here: It will soon merge onto our website and took about 3 years to complete the full project, which includes a mobile tour, Shaker music, biographies etc. in addition to the Google Earth material. The project is intended to be a model that others can use so, feel free to contact me for information.


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