Apps for Virtual Tours

May 08 2020

Apps for Virtual Tours

Hand holding ipad over field Last week we announced our new Virtual Experiences page, highlighting a variety of online exhibits, educational resources, activities, webinars, and video tours from our partners. Are you interested in offering a virtual experience for your visitors? Below are some tools that can help you create a virtual tour or even venture into augmented reality.


Clio is your guide to the history and culture around you. Discover nearby historical and cultural sites. Each entry and walking tour is created by local historians, universities, historic sites, and museums. With a free Institution Account, you can develop a variety of projects that incorporate Clio entries and tours into your programs, exhibits, and traditional tours.

Interested in learning more about how Clio works? The American Association for State and Local History hosted a webinar as part of their AASLH Conversations: Building a No-Cost Virtual Tour of Museums and Historic Sites with Clio. In this webinar, David Trowbridge discusses how—and why—history institutions can build virtual tours at no cost using the Clio app. The conversation focuses on how institutions can use these features to develop a virtual tour, as well as a broader discussion of what works, what might be possible, and what kinds of features and functions can be found in the app.

ArcGIS StoryMap

If your organization has access to ArcGIS, consider creating a StoryMap. With ArcGIS StoryMaps, you can tell remarkable stories with custom maps that inform and inspire. Their simple map maker helps you to create custom maps to enhance your digital storytelling. Or add text, photos, and videos to your existing ArcGIS web maps and web scenes to create an interactive narrative that’s easy to publish and share. Note: as opposed to the other apps listed on this post, ArcGIS StoryMap is not free but requires a purchase of ArcGIS Creator, GIS Professional, or Storyteller user types.

StoryMap is the same platform used for “African-American Voices, Memories and Places: A Four Rivers Heritage Trail” created by Anne Arundel County’s Office of Planning and Zoning and “Landmark at Risk: Protecting the Historic Seaport of Annapolis, Maryland” created by the City of Annapolis Historic Preservation Division.

Other Apps

Google Tour Creator

Google’s Tour Creator makes it easy to build free immersive, 360° tours right from your computer. Use imagery from templates, Google Street View, or your 360-degree image collection. Then, add details, audio files, and highlight points of interest. All you need is a Google Account.


Marzipano is a free 360° media viewer. The tool generates a virtual tour from a set of panoramas and allows you to export it as web application that can be deployed as-is or used as a boilerplate for more advanced projects.


Or if you’re ready to be really adventurous with 3D tours, OpenSpace3D is a free and open-source platform, designed to create virtual and augmented-reality applications or games. Their goal is to democratize real-time 3D applications and provide a tool for all creative minds, not just developers. They claim you don’t need software development skills to use their platform, so why not give it a try?

We can’t wait to see what you do with these tools. We’re sure you’ll use this weekend to start to get creative. Once you’ve developed a new virtual tour, let us know!