Tour these American museums virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic

While we are unable to physically travel, a global digital pivot means that we can still visit some of the world's best museums and galleries. This list takes a look at America's offerings.
Tour these American museums virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic Exhibitions online at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Visit online.

ShareAmerica

Friday 22 January, 2021

It has been history-making year for America, marked by Black Lives Matters protests, threatened democracy in the Capital, a change of Presidency, and near 400,000 cases of the Coronavirus.

Given that travel to the US for Australians is largely off the cards, perhaps it's time to have full reign of some of America's incredible collections (without the throngs of shoulder-jostling tourists) as many of its greatest museums offer their collections to be viewed virtually.

This article by ShareAmerica, the U.S. Department of State’s platform for communicating American foreign policy and culture worldwide, offers a few suggestion.

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While the pandemic has forced many to stay home, museums across the United States are bringing their world-famous collections online for anyone to view.

The public response has been enormous. American tech company Google recently reported its most searched terms of 2020, and the second most popular search after the word 'virtual' was 'virtual museum exhibitions.'

Here are five popular art exhibitions anyone can appreciate from home

The Thannhauser Collection, including Paul Cézanne’s Still Life: Flask, Glass, and Jug (Fiasque, verre et poterie), at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. © David Heald/Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has digitised each floor of the museum so virtual visitors can wander its winding halls, top to bottom. Stand in front of a Glenn Ligon painting, or in the center of the building and look up at the Alexander Calder mobile to get the full experience of this New York institution.

In Los Angeles, the J. Paul Getty Museum allows visitors to peruse the museum’s permanent collection as it hangs on the walls or view each work individually — there are over 13,000 pieces from which to choose.

La Promenade by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (left), from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program. A Lady Writing by Johannes Vermeer (right) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer has only 35 known works in existence. The National Gallery of Art in Washington has four of these paintings, which are now available to view in an online exhibition, Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting.

Viewers can zoom in on Vermeer’s A Lady Writing to see his immaculate application of oil paint. Clicking through the show, visitors can also learn more about several of Vermeer’s contemporaries, like Gerard ter Borch, a master at painting satin dresses.

National Portrait Gallery’s online exhibition, First Ladies of the United States. Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian Institution. 

From Martha Washington to Melania Trump, the National Portrait Gallery’s online exhibition, First Ladies of the United States, displays all American first ladies’ formal portraits. Virtual visitors can learn more about each first lady by clicking on the corresponding portrait.

Visitors may learn, for instance, that Jackie Kennedy’s diplomacy assisted in convincing France to lend the Mona Lisa to the United States for an exhibition. 

If it’s a starry night in Provence, France, you’re after, then the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has the solution. Stand virtually in front of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous work, The Starry Night (pictured top). The view is open to one and all.

Vincent van Gogh’s most famous work, The Starry Night (detail). © Art Images/Getty Images. 

For those interested in exploring the art of diplomacy, the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD) illustrates how diplomacy has shaped the United States and defined its role in the world. While the physical museum is still under development, NMAD’s preview exhibit includes artifacts and images that highlight U.S. diplomats and their work with international partners to create a more stable world.

The National Museum of American Diplomacy in Washington invites viewers to discover how diplomacy impacts their lives every day. Courtesy of the National Museum of American Diplomacy.

Authors Noelani Kirschner| Suzanne K. Mast. This article was first published by ShareAmerica.

About the author

ShareAmerica is the U.S. Department of State’s platform for communicating American foreign policy worldwide. Its content is under CC Licence.