Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Virtual Tours - A Great Way to Visit Museums

I'm social distancing now, just as anyone reading this post is doing.  I'm splitting my time between my home and the Dunitz & Company office, which luckily is only a 1/2 mile commute. It's just me and our mascot, Stetson. Because it's been so incredibly quiet, I thought it might be fun to research museum virtual tours and tidbits. Dunitz & Company is a member of Museum Store Association, and I thought this might be a way to support many shops and institutions that often support me. I've been able to compile this list by researching online, inquiring from my customers and watching my Facebook feed. (I follow a zillion museums!) I will add to this list on an ongoing basis. So check back. And if your museum has virtual tours, video or exhibitions, and is not included, please let me know.

My discoveries are in no particular order.

Chrysler Museum of Art - You'll have fun spending some time in this fine museum. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you can tour right from your sofa. Click here. 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - Why worry about the cost of admission? Google Street Views let's you check out the artwork on display from your sofa. (By the way, I just have to share that when I was in college, I was a summer intern at the Guggenheim in New York. I worked in the business offices and took the general public on tours of the then Rufino Tamayo retrospective.)

Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts - Keep checking back to the WI Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts. They are pioneering a "Quarantine Quilt".  Click here to check out the submissions they receive for this collaborative project.

Lake Superior Railroad Museum - What a find! Especially if you have kids to entertain. View virtual tours on this museum's YouTube channel. Click here to watch the episodes they are currently producing. Keep clicking back since it seems they are adding a new tour every few days. If you watch the tour provided in the link above, if you look right, you'll see others.

Museum of Flight - Have you seen the inside of a plane? Now thanks to this museum based in Seattle, WA, you can check out the cockpit of just about any type of plane.  You might just encourage some young men and women to pursue a career as a pilot. Link here.

Detroit Institute of Arts - This museum certainly wins my heart because I've spent many hours there. Partially because I grew up in and around Detroit, and I studied Art History at University of Michigan. (Go Blue!) Detroit Public TV, and the DIA have collaborated so you can take many virtual field trips to the museum.

Heritage Square Museum - If you live near or are visiting the Los Angeles area, you should definitely visit this museum. They host so many special events and their docents and volunteers are always decked out in Victorian couture. Can't get there? On quarantine? You can check out their virtual tour and learn a lot about their historic buildings.

Scandinavia House - has created a virtual tour of their recent exhibit, "Cutting Edges: Nordic Concrete Art." Have some fun with this one by following this link. If you peruse their website, you'll see other tidbits of other halls. Definitely worth checking out if you like contemporary art.

J. Paul Getty Museum - You'll be able to scroll through many rooms at the Getty Museum with the help of Google Arts & Culture Streetview.  Want to experience the gardens? Then click here to experience the exterior spaces of this wonderful building. This museum certainly provides a feast for your eyes.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - You may not live in Boston. And you may be 'settling in place' due to Covid-19. In any case, you can spend some time with MFA's virtual exhibits. They've been provided by Google Arts & Culture and there is plenty to see. At the time of typing this, 16 exhibits were available for checking out.

Crocker Art Museum - The Crocker Art Museum is one of my favorites to follow on Facebook. They are always posting photos from their collection with wonderfully thorough descriptions. They've stepped it up even more, given the Covid-19 closure. They've been posting regular virtual tours from their galleries. And their staff has been highlighting their favorite pieces from the Crocker with their reasons for loving their choices. What a great idea, yes?

Free Coloring Books - from 113 museums! I know this isn't a virtual tour. But, I think this is definitely worth mentioning in this blog post. This could provide hours of fun for kids and adults. You will have so much fun scouring all these resources.

National Gallery of Art - Thank you to Google Arts & Culture, again.  At the moment of my writing, you can check out two exhibits, one fashion, the other Vermeer.  Vermeer, luscious. Click here to learn more. If you scroll the home page of NGA, you'll also find some interactive activities, some perfect for children.

Bowers Museum - If you're from Southern California, you're probably familiar with the Bowers Museum. I'm amazed by the fabulous exhibits they consistently offer. It's always worth the trip. Unfortunately their current exhibit, Inside the Walt Disney Archives is shut down due to Covid-19. Lucky for us, they've created a YouTube Video which tours us through the exhibit. If you scroll down their home page, you'll also find the Bowers Video Channel, where you can link to lots of others.

National Museum of Women in the Arts - is now calling themselves a "Digital Museum."  Click through and you'll see what they mean. You'll be able to see their collections online, read about artists featured in their collections and view high resolution art through Google Art & Culture. You'll also be able to read the current issue of Women in the Arts Magazine.

The Phillips Collection - is the home of one of my favorite paintings, Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party. What I didn't know (until I started my research) was that the Phillips Collection website has a multimedia section where you can find a host of wonderful videos well worth watching.  You'll be so happy you discovered these offerings.

Corning Museum of Glass - If you're interested in glass making, you'll find lots videos providing a feast for your eyes. Click here and you'll find some video demonstrations that will keep you busy for quite a while. Want to learn and see more? Stream the show 'Blown Away' on Netflix.

Smithsonian Institution - has a host of online exhibits worth checking out. No, it's not video. But there is plenty to hang your hat on. I'm sure if you peruse what's available, you're sure to find some of interest. You'll find presentations from so many museums including the American History Museum, Postal Museum, American Indian Museum and the Portrait Gallery. I spent some time reading about the first lady of song, Ella Fitzgerald.

Canton Museum of Art - The Canton Museum of Art has an amazing virtual presentation of their galleries. You'll be able to scroll through all of their galleries. I was amazed. Screen grab and check it out.

National World War I Museum & Memorial - Once again, thanks to Google Arts & Culture you can see many exhibits from the comfort of your sofa. If you're a history buff, and even if you're not, you're bound to be interested in much that is offered.

Montclair History Center - The Montclair History Center has the right idea during these "settle in place" times.  They're creating a new 'History at Home' series. Every Thursday, starting in April, they will add an educational blog post. They actually posted an interesting article on March 21st, about the Spanish Flu of 1918. Click here to read it.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles - I was fascinated by the video on the NHM site about the Street Names in Los Angeles. Not your thing? There are several other videos on the museum's site. Perhaps you're interested in dinosaurs. You can learn about the smallest dinosaur discovered yet. 

California Science Center - Stuck at home with kids?  Find videos and instructions for science projects you can do with household supplies you probably already have. Click here to get more information. The staff of CSC is adding a new project daily. Have fun.

The Hammer Museum - The Hammer Museum has a YouTube channel with too many videos to count. You're bound to find a topic that interests you. There are jazz concerts, meditation sessions, poetry readings and discussions about recent movies.  I challenge you to follow this link. You'll be watching these videos all day! And if that's not enough, you can click to watch video profiles of artists from past exhibits or check out their extensive digital archives which record the details of their past shows.

MOCA Los Angeles - Looking for more education video about artists that have had their works shown at MOCA Los Angeles? MOCA's YouTube Channel hosts many for the viewing. Interested in conservation? I was intrigued by the videos, (none too long) discussing the preservation of Jackson Pollock work. If you missed MOCA’s recent exhibition “With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985,” you can watch artist, Sanford Biggers lead a tour through the exhibit.

GRAMMY Museum - Crazy for music? If you're like me, you are. Here's a great find. For the first time, the GRAMMY Museum will debut never-before-released digital Public Programs from their archives. Click this link to see what's being feature each day during the Covid-19 'stay in place' order. I'm looking forward to seeing the footage from Kool & The Gang, scheduled for April 6th.

Cranbrook Art Museum - Looking for that virtual experience strolling through galleries. You can do this at Cranbrook. Click here to experience their 3D Virtual Art Tours. I was particularly interested in these. Why? I grew up in this area and when I was in senior in high school, I taught and toured 6th graders at Cranbrook's Institute of Science.

The Frick, Pittsburgh - The Frick, Pittsburgh website has gone interactive and virtual. If you're looking for activities to do with youngsters, they're posting a new kid-friendly activity each day.  Looking for adult art education? View their exhibitions.  Want to take virtual tours? You can do that too thanks to Google. Walk their Gardens. Or check out their galleries. They also have a wonderful digital archive of their collections.

Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Garden - How cool is this? Check out this virtual tour.  I've actually never been to these gardens in Saginaw, MI. I did however meet and interview Marshall Fredericks when I was in college. I prepared a guide to the outdoor sculpture at University of Michigan when I was a student. And since his work was on campus, he was willing to meet with me. I actually still have a handwritten note he sent me after our visit.

Mount Vernon - Think George Washington. Click away and you'll find all sorts of interesting digital resources on this site. You'll also find this amazing virtual tour.  I was at Mount Vernon as a kid. And of course, I don't remember it at all. They also offer up a bunch of educational videos. The featured video as I type this is about Washington and Chocolate. Yum.

Museum of the American Revolution - Haven't been? Me either. Now you can take a fabulous virtual learning tour from this Philadelphia based museum. This virtual tour is extensive and impressive. Perfect for home schooling. Perfect for history buffs. Definitely worth checking out.

National Museum of the Great Lakes - Scroll your mouse and check out the virtual tour from the NMGL.  You can check out the museum exhibits and the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. There are also interactive links relating to their current exhibit (as of 3/25/2020) Port of Toledo: Then and Now.  What a great way to learn about local history.

National Museum U.S. Air Force - This museum is located near Dayton, OH. And I'm guessing many of you reading through my blog post here have not been.  Now you can take a virtual tour of many of their exhibits. You can definitely pass some time away with this site!

Panhandle Plains Historical Museum - You can learn more about the Texas plains by visiting this museums site. There are several videos offered that are also attached to their facebook page. Stroll through their entire museum with this virtual tour. You don't need your cowboy boots to take this tour.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania - OH MY GOSH. If you love trains, take a ride here. This museum has so many virtual tours, you'll be amazed. You can even tour the bathrooms! It really is quite amazing just how beautiful each compartment is. Check out the bedroom from a West Maryland Railway bedroom. Each screen has notes so you know exactly what you're seeing.

National Museum of Natural History - The NMNH is part of Smithsonian, and you're in for a treat with all of their virtual tours. There are so many, I'm afraid you won't know where to start. Start with the Permanent Collections. If you're like me, you'll go straight to the Hirschhorn Sculpture Gardens. I was lucky enough to steal some time there in person when I participated in the 2018 MSA Forward. Were you there?

JFK Library - This presidential library offers up all sorts of interesting digital archives. What's really fun is the "JFK Moonshot" where you can scroll around the moon's surface and learn all sorts of fun facts. Download the app, and you can follow the Apollo 11 mission.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - If you can't get to the Aquarium, the animals and fish will come to you. This aquarium doesn't have a virtual tour. What they do have is several LIVE CAMS.  Check out the Sharks, Coral Reef or some of their other live cams. You'll be amazed. I am.

New York Botanical Gardens - We can't go there right now. But we can take a virtual tour of NY Botanical Gardens current orchid exhibit. Straight from their facebook page is a 20+ minute adventure. Beautiful. Looking for other videos and tours. Click here.

Center for Puppetry Arts - Located in Atlanta, the Center for Puppetry Arts is live streaming on Facebook daily. So many of the shows are perfect for watching with kids. Link to their Facebook.

Ah Tah Thi Ki Museum -  Learn more about the Seminole Tribe of Florida with the resources available from the Ah Tah Thi Ki Museum. Download a story book and coloring book. Stuck at home with kids during the 'stay at home' Covid-19 orders. Pull out your crayons and spend some time coloring.

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza -  Both educational and interactive, this museum provides an online timetable with information that will fill in all the gaps from that horrific day.

Speed Art Museum -  This was a fun discovery. The Speed Art Museum provides some At Home Art Instruction for families to enjoy on their own turf. Follow the link and discover some projects you might take on at home with the kids. Teach them about Warhol, Frankenthaler and Pollock.

Milwaukee Art Museum - The Milwaukee Art Museum will keep you very busy while you're stuck at home. On their "At Home" page, you'll find all sorts of things to fill your hours. There are several podcasts you can dive into. Their featured collector spotlight, 'Peg Bradley and the Bradley Collection' is worth a listen. Scroll down the page for videos or take a virtual tour of their Windhoven Hall. Enjoy.

Institute of Contemporary Art LA - Lucky you. You can now take interactive virtual reality tours of ICA LA's recent exhibitions. Click through to take a self-guided tour of the Ree Morton: The Plant That Heals May Also Poison and Ann Green Kelly exhibits. You'll also be able to 'walk through' some prior exhibits too.

Arsenal Gallery - New York's only regularly programmed free municipal gallery is indefinitely shut down during the Covid-19 outbreak.  That doesn't mean you can't enjoy their exhibit "After the Ribbon is Cut."  The gallery had a quick open on March 12th and will reopen next year. The NY City Park's videographer created a lengthy walk-through that you can watch now. Click here.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum - I have to nod my hat to the National Cowboy Museum for loading "social media" tasks to the responsibilities of their head of security. "Tim" has a delightful way of touring the museum on twitter and Instagram during the Covid-19 closure. His social has gone viral. (Maybe I could learn a thing or two from him!) And guess what? They do have a virtual tour hosted through Google Arts & Culture.

I hope you have fun exploring the resources I mustered up for this blog post. It was not the easiest of tasks.  During these tough times, I wanted to support and promote museums. When we're allowed to roam freely again (when Covid-19 has been tackled), I hope you will explore many of these institutions in-person. Visit their museum stores. If you're lucky, you'll find Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry. Many of those listed are Museum Store Association members.  All provide wonderful opportunities for education and visual pleasure. If you think your museum should be added to this list, please send me links. Be safe and well everyone. -ND