Most museums are closed to help curb the spread of coronavirus, but you can now visit many Midwest institutions just by going to their websites. Take a virtual tour, gather activity ideas, watch live experiments and more. Explore the #MuseumFromHome trend here.

By Bryce Jones
March 24, 2020
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Illinois

Filter through thousands of artworks and writings by theme, style and even color. You can learn about artifacts like a West African dance headdress and a 2,000-year-old vase made in Greece.

The Field Museum | Chicago

Stay connected through the museum’s social media, and even get access to behind-the-scenes information. Learning resources for families and children K-12 include interactive games, coloring books and instant messaging with the world’s largest dinosaur.

Get ideas for hands-on science activities at home, such as making your own egg carton nursery and building a (surprisingly sturdy) newspaper fort. The site also features videos of baby animal births, a visit from BB-8 and games like creating a virtual chemical reaction.

Indiana

Facebook Live videos allow you to follow along with museum experts doing at-home experiments such as making your own plant-based plastic and color-changing milk. Other online programs include "Storytime," videos of teachers and guests reading their favorite books, and "Museum in Minutes," quick tours of current exhibits.

Iowa

Des Moines Art Center | Des Moines

According to the center's Facebook page, expect to partake in virtual tours in the near future. As of now, find educational videos about a variety of art-related topics on their YouTube page and look through photos of exhibitions on their website.

Kansas

Wichita Art Museum | Wichita

Go on an "Artcation" without leaving your home. Download a packet with crafting ideas and writing prompts based on four themes, from The Deep Dark Sea to Outer Space and Beyond. Curate your own collection of artist Preston Singletary's work with fun projects and video field trips, and discover his Raven and the Box of Daylight.

Michigan

The Henry Ford  | Dearborn

Immerse yourself in American history with a virtual tour of the amazing collection which includes the bus Rosa Parks rode, Henry Ford's first automobile attempt, a post-WWII diner and more.

The center streams live interactive science demonstrations on Facebook at 2:30 p.m. EDT each weekday. See an example of the demonstrations here and more of the museum's home science activities here. 

Minnesota

Walker Art Center | Minneapolis

Spend your day reading through the current Living Collections Catalogue “Side by Side: Collaborative Artistic Practices in the United States, 1960s-1980s.” Explore contemporary topics through Walker Reader magazine articles like “Identifying Identity” and “Film Restoration.”

Missouri

Although the exhibit Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt closed early, virtual visitors can still learn all about ancient Egyptian palaces and tombs from museum director Julián Zugazagoitia. You can also listen to a 1994 lecture relating to an upcoming exhibit on photographer Gordon Parks’s work with Muhammad Ali.

Saint Louis Art Museum | Saint Louis

Curatorial staff selected highlights from the museum's collection to feature online. Listen to audio or read transcripts about past and present exhibits with works like graphic American prints from the 1960s to now, oriental rugs and 17th-century Dutch paintings.

Nebraska

Durham Museum | Omaha

Free digital learning programs feature artifacts, videos and photographs. Access lessons through Zoom, or follow the Museum's social media to see when they broadcast live. Teachers, parents and students can register to participate.

Every Friday on Facebook Live, get your kids to participate in a drop-in studio program with themes like Artist Explorers, 3D Drawing and Colorful Chandeliers. Explore the museum itself with a virtual tour and gallery talks on Facebook and Instagram. On the museum's Pinterest, art educators can find at-home resources.

North Dakota

View ongoing exhibitions focused on community – City Geode Space Sculpture, The North Dakota Mural and Bee in Flight, created by a local artist and teacher. Tune into live art parties on the Museum's Facebook page, led by Hayden the Art Dude.

Travel throughout the state with virtual 360 tours of the Pitchfork Steak Fondue (a cowboy cookout in Medora), the scrap metal sculptures of the Enchanted Highway, Painted Canyon Overlook at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Missouri River, wooden homes made by tribes living in the Upper Missouri River Valley known as Earthlodges, the first operational anti-ballistic missile defense system at Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard Complex, and a North Dakota sunset.

Ohio

Hear insights from curators on exhibitions through the CMA's new YouTube series "Home Is Where the Art Is." For information on past museum programs and events, find audio and visual recordings on the website's digital archives.

Stark and Tuscarawas County museums

In a joint effort, McKinley Museum and Presidential Library, Massillon Museum, Canton Museum of Art, National First Ladies' Library, Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum are all providing content on their Facebook pages. The programs vary week to week and cover a number of topics, artifacts and exhibits—a six-foot carved dragon from a 1890s mansion, a virtual tour of Parisian salon artwork, the history of professional football and a presentation on Music of the 40s, to name a few.

Wisconsin

Featured collections and artists you can view online include Chicago Imagists and Frida Kahlo's Pitahayas. The museum staff is also sharing their favorite works and encouraging visitors to make art at home inspired by their collections on Facebook.

Milwaukee Art Museum | Milwaukee

Go behind the scenes, learn about popular programs and discover artworks on the Museum's blog, or virtually visit Windhover Hall. If you're looking for teaching resources, you can find activities, lesson plans and more.