Digital Museums: the Perfect Staycation

| August 23, 2017

Intersession is upon us! While it brings a well-deserved break for those who have completed summer courses, it also brings us closer to the start of autumn. Taking a full-fledged summer vacation while balancing studies, work, and life in general can be extremely stressful, but the perfect getaway may be closer than you think. It may not even require travel at all; many museums across the globe have catalogs that are free to be browsed online. From The National Gallery in London to Museo Del Prado, The Adirondack Experience to The Louvre, worlds of art and history are at your fingertips.

paradise bay

Paradise Bay and Black Mt. postcard from the Adirondack Experience Historic Postcard Collection.

Some benefits to these digital visits are that you can explore museums in ways never before possible. Dream of being a curator? The Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa offers more than 600,000 pieces in its catalog. Its Art Wall service allows visitors to select from hundreds of paintings to be projected in one of the museum’s galleries, and yes, this can be done remotely. Rijksmuseum not only lets you comb all of its works online, but allows you to curate your own collections of full pieces through Rijksstudio. It even allows you to save portions of pieces, for the more detail-oriented. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art lets you curate on the go with its Send Me SFMoMA program – participants text the museum a keyword, and a related image from the museum’s collection is texted back to you.

Aquarium (with sunglasses)

Aquarium (with sunglasses) by Nick Austen, 2009, from the Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongawera Art Collection.

If you’d prefer a stroll through a museum, computers can still make this possible. The State Hermitage Museum allows you to search for individual works as well as providing a virtual visit of the entire museum. Google Arts & Culture provides users with similar up-close views of a massive selection of museums and other cultural sites. Of course, if you need a more realistic getaway instead of a digital one, the Whitney’s Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium features lively colors, original poetry, Brazilian music, real sand, and live parrots.

With so many collections available at the push of a button, you can learn something new every day before the Fall semester starts…or you can just relax before diving into a new school year. Savor the summer while you can!