Your Guide to Diverse Online Museums
The First in Our Series on Virtual Cultural Experiences
What compels us to leave our comfort zones and set off to see the world? The allure of new faces and experiences, and a core curiosity about the world’s many cultures which only travel can satiate. Of course, no time in living memory has been more difficult to see new faces. Similarly, it’s hard to uncover new experiences when you’ve been staring at the dull inside of your flat for two months.
But that doesn’t mean new cultural experiences are beyond reach. We’re here to help by curating a series of digital tools, videos and resources to immerse you in unique cultural experiences. The first in this series focuses on museums.
For the Big Thinker
A true explorer is always on the lookout for new perspectives. As diverse as American culture is, there is one consistent way to uncover new perspectives: through the lens of gender equality. In politics, war, sports, and many other areas of American life, women have unique and interesting stories that are often overshadowed by those of men. Fortunately, the National Women’s History Museum offers an extensive series of online exhibits from which you can learn more!
An appreciation for diverse perspectives will open doors all over the world. Keyna, for example, is full of distinct cultures. The National Museums of Kenya’s online exhibit “Utamaduni Wetu: Meet the People of Kenya” fuses colorful imagery with in-depth explanations to help you learn about Kenya’s history, superheroes, music, dance, costumes, languages, national parks, and more.
For the Aesthetics Aficionado
In some cases, the museum itself is as impressive as the art on the walls. New York’s Guggenheim museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its main gallery is a single incline, curving five stories around the lobby. It truly must be seen to be believed. Fortunately, you can see it - complete with chaperone - on one the museum’s regular Virtual Guided Tours. Although these tours are $10 per person, there are free online resources: the Guggenheim Collection Online allows you to browse over 1,700 of the museum’s most diverse pieces, all from the comfort of your flat.
Next, let’s hop across the pond to Catalonia, Spain. Salvador Dalí was bizarre and atypical, so it makes sense that the Dalí Theatre and Museum in his hometown of Figueres should be as well. As you move through the museum’s virtual tour, you’ll notice that the building accentuates the artist’s with unique art placement and architectural embellishments. Like the Guggenheim, this is a museum where the space itself is as impressive as the art.
For the Young (and Young-at-Heart)
Some people hear the word “museum” and think “boring” and “serious.” A few museums are fighting that stereotype with fun, interactive virtual exhibits perfect for children or the young-at-heart.
This virtual exhibit, by the British Museum in London, combines informative, 360° virtual tours with a Where’s Wally-style scavenger hunt. Challenge your kids - or yourself - to spot important cultural objects, such as the Rosetta Stone, before learning more!
Many museums have adapted to the current global situation with online events programs specifically aimed at children and their caretakers. The Guggenheim has a variety of hands-on art activities to engage youthful creativity. “Sketch With Jeff,” for example, leads the little ones on sketching adventures with a museum teaching artist.
Similarly, our final recommendation takes us to the American city of Cincinnati, Ohio, where the Taft Museum of Art offers Family Sunday Fundays: weekly, hands-on art activities. Tune in on May 24 and 31 for upcoming live Fundays, or check out past, precorded Fundays on YouTube.
So while you can’t easily board a plane, you can still travel the world. And, like any guide, we’ve only provided a map to your journey - it’s up to you to take the first step. Don’t worry: we’ll be back! Stay tuned for the next piece in our series on virtual cultural experiences!
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Read about the adventures others have had and get excited for yours.