Virtual Tours Allow You to Visit Your Favorite Boston Area Museums
We know the importance of social distancing to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19, but we still want to connect and experience the art found in local cultural institutions. As you spend your days working from home and staying put, we’ve compiled a helpful list of all the museums, cultural centers, and libraries that are offering virtual tours, online exhibitions, and other resources to keep you entertained and culturally satisfied.
Art Museums & Galleries
Davis Museum at Wellesley College
On the Davis Museum’s website, visitors can explore three exhibitions via the museum’s virtual platform. One virtual show looks at artists’ interpretations of Mary Magdalene’s identity, revealing their perspectives on women, devotion, and the divine, and their artistic choices have, in turn, influenced the lives of women. Additionally, the Davis Museum offers an exhibition of the work of artist Yu-Wen Wu, and a look Portraits of Women in its collection.
The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University
The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery features contemporary and historical exhibitions and installations of African and African American art. You can take a virtual tour of the gallery’s current exhibition Zanele Muhol: Somnyama Ngonyama/Hail, the Dark Lioness.
Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
While the ICA remains closed to the general public, you can still explore contemporary art with videos and audio recordings, including exhibition previews, artist interviews, studio visits, and talks between artists and curators on the ICA website. Some of the ICA’s digital offerings include studio visits with artists like Tschabalala Self, Helga Roht Poznanski, and Lavaughan Jenkins, along with recordings of past talks and other exhibition materials.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Isabella Stewart Gardner is one of Boston’s most unique museums and is a must-see for any visitor to the City. However, even with its magnificent courtyard is closed, you can still explore its collections and current exhibitions. ISGM partnered with Google Arts & Culture to offer to online shows exploring the thirteen works of art stolen from the museum’s collection. You can also learn about the museum’s current exhibition Boston’s Apollo on its website, plus enjoy concerts, talks, and more on its YouTube page.
Harvard Art Museums
Harvard Art Museums offers a host of options on its website. You can dive into the museums’ extensive collection, tag along on a virtual tour, learn more about the revolutionary Bauhaus movement and school, and more.
Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts
You can take advantage of the pause in the BCA’s Mills Gallery programming to check out its current show FeministFuturist. This exhibition adds to the cultural conversation about the future from a feminist point of view, inserting female-centered narratives into future worlds. On the BCA’s website, you can find films featured in the show and see a feminist reading list.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world, and you can still enjoy its outstanding collection from your couch. Through its partnership with Google Arts & Culture, you can access eight different exhibitions ranging from Fashion Photography to Art By African American Artists. You’re also able to browse the MFA’s vast archive of images on its website, and don’t forget to check out its YouTube page for even more.
Peabody Essex Museum
The Peabody Essex Museum has one of the unique collections in Massachusetts, and it has pulled together all sorts of engaging digital content for you to explore while it’s closed. You can explore its collections, find art projects for kids, and learn about the stories behind exhibitions and artists. Don’t forget to check out their podcast too!
Rose Art Museum at Brandies University
The Rose Art Museum is offering a way to enjoy its collection remotely. You can view the Rose’s collection online, plus you can enjoy an artist talk by Dora García and watch Mary Reid Kelley with Patrick Kelley’s film The Syphilis of Sisyphus, which is in the Rose’s collection online.
Worcester Art Museum
You may not be able to walk through Worcester Art Museum’s galleries right now. However, you can still experience their transformative power of art by staying connected and engaged with the museum’s collection online. You can view past Master Series conversations about art in its collections or dive into its online collection database.
Children’s Museums & Other Institutions
Boston Children’s Museum
Take a virtual tour of the Boston Children’s Museum and check out their social media for other fun videos and activities.
The Ecotarium in Worcester is a “hands-on” place to learn about science and the natural world. However, you can still learn about its animals with free educational content on its website.
The Discovery Museum is ready to help keep your kids busy while they are at home with Discovery At Home. This guide provides favorite at-home fun-and-learning activities.
Museum of Science, Boston
The Museum of Science may be closed, but science never stops! The Museum of Science has put together a suite of tools to keep your kids learning at home, including daily live streams, and STEM resources all on its website.
New England Aquarium
Go on a virtual visit to the Aquarium to learn about all of the aquatic life there. You can watch videos of shark feeding and octopi. New videos are added every week!
History and Cultural Museums
John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
Dedicated to the memory of our 35th president, the JFK Library and Museum provides insights into the life of John F. Kennedy. Through Google Arts & Culture, you can explore the institution’s exhibitions and or visit the JFK Library and Museum’s website to explore its online archive.
The Commonwealth Museum brings the story of Massachusetts to life with state of the art interactive exhibits. You can visit their website for online exhibitions on The Acadian Exile in Massachusetts, Black People in Massachusetts during the Civil War, Irish Immigration, and more.
Massachusetts Historical Society
The Massachusetts Historical Society is an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. You can view its wealth of archives online, including the papers of Thomas Jefferson or learn about John and Abigail Adams.
Massachusetts State House
The Massachusetts State House isn’t just the seat of political power in the Commonwealth; it also serves as a museum that reflects the history and development of Massachusetts from colonial times to today. This virtual tour describes nine historic spaces and highlights paintings, sculptures, artifacts, and decorative arts commemorating the people and events that helped to shape the Commonwealth and nation.
Museum of African American History, Boston & Nantucket
The Museum of African American History in Boston and Nantucket is the largest institution of its kind in New England. MAAHM is dedicated to sharing the rich legacy of African American accomplishments. Through Google Arts & Culture, you can learn about the abolitionist movement in Boston or take a virtual tour of the Black Heritage Trail.
USS Constitution Museum
While the USS Constitution Museum is closed, it’s still working to bring the museum to you! Visit the historic ship’s website to learn about the history of “Old Ironsides.” You can also explore the museum’s online collections, extraordinary voyages, and find activities for kids and families or take a virtual tour via Facebook!
Chad Sirois (He/Him/His) is the Senior Marketing and Engagement Manager at ArtsBoston. He is an art and museum addict and can frequently found taking a selfie in a gallery near you. He volunteers with Boston LGBTQIA Artist Alliance and is an active member of the Boston Gay Kickball League.