Visit the Met Museum Through Augmented Reality

Experience The Met Unframed

In a time when many museums have been forced to close their doors or sharply reduce attendance, those institutions have done their best to adapt and muddle through. As you may know from playing some of our online scavenger hunts, museums all over the world have worked to beef up their virtual offerings. The Metropolitan Museum of Art may have outdone them all.

On January 12, The Met, which has seen some success with new Covid safety measures since re-opening in August, released a new, limited-time experience dubbed The Met Unframed. It’s a virtual tour of the Met Museum that is full-on augmented reality and sort of miniaturized. If you’re wondering how to try it out and what you should look for, read on!

More than a virtual tour of the Met Museum

Met Unframed Screenshot

These 3D-captured galleries highlight a greatest-hits collection of painting and sculpture. As you explore, you’ll find info labels and audio guides, as well as mini-games that let you “borrow” a piece of art. Like other AR experiences, the Met Unframed will let you project an image of that borrowed art in your own home and take photos.

How Do I Use It?

Met Unframed Screenshot

Easy! Visit the Met Unframed website. If you visit on your smartphone or tablet, you should see an Enter button, which will launch a tutorial, and then the experience. If you visit that link on your computer, you’ll see a QR code to scan with your phone or tablet. (Sorry, this is a mobile-only site.) If you’re interested, visit the site sooner rather than later, since this is planned to end after a few weeks.

What Should I See?

Met Unframed Screenshot

The first thing you should do is take in the Great Hall. For anyone who loves and misses this museum, it’s nice just being here, even virtually. And then from here, you can start exploring a number of themed galleries.

  • Power Galleries: The Met will want you to think about the portrayals of power here, but likely you’ll just think of this as the home of favorites like Egyptian statues and Washington Crossing the Delaware.
  • Journey Galleries: Here you’ll find art that takes you to another place. Sounds nice right about now, right?
  • Home Galleries: Doing the opposite, these galleries look at how the concept of home has been depicted over time.
  • Nature Galleries: Head inside to see the Temple of Dendur, Jackson Pollocks, a unicorn, and more.

What’s This About Mini-Games?

The Met Unframed includes dozens of puzzles that let you “unlock” artworks and display them in miniature around you. You can visit the art without playing the games, but the AR portion of this experience begins with those games.

At the Temple of Dendur, you’ll be tasked with finding glowing hieroglyphs on the temple walls and then completing four sliding puzzles that match the outlined symbols.

Met Unframed Screenshot

As a reward for a puzzle well done, you’ll get access to a 3D model of the temple for 15 minutes. You can then see the model in your home and take a photo, like this one.

Met Unframed Screenshot

Meanwhile, at Washington Crossing the Delaware, you’ll look around a darkened gallery to find four highlighted numbers and arrange them in the correct order. Finding those numbers is easy, but you’ll need to read the painting’s label to know how to arrange them. Very smart!

Met Unframed Screenshot

Projecting the unlocked painting onto a wall proved a bit finnicky, but we settled for a teeny tiny Washington on a teeny tiny easel.

Met Unframed Screenshot

Visit the Met Unframed website to get started and explore one of the world’s great museums.


Image credits: Lead photo by Ryan Greene; all other images via The Met Unframed