You don’t need to travel to the USA to get a peek inside its museums - some of the country’s most interesting museums have opened virtual doors to their exhibitions and permanent collections. Here’s our pick of American museums to discover.
The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum
You can take a virtual tour of the National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City - it’s the USA’s top collection of Western history, art and culture. The museum’s biggest hit is their security guard Tim Send, who took over its social channels when it was forced to lockdown. Send’s charming and lighthearted posts, signed off with ‘Thanks, Tim’ and the word hashtag spelt out in his hashtags has become a social media sensation. You can check him out on the museum’s Twitter and Facebook accounts - and learn plenty about cowboy culture and heritage too.
The Petersen Automotive Museum
Get a look under the bonnet and into the famous vault at The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The museum is offering lots of free content, including virtual tours, fun activities and cool videos sharing stories of glamorous garages, the history of cars and ultra rare cars, and more, through the Peterson’s excellent video channel. Highlights include an interview with celebrity car collector, Metallica front man James Hetfield. The Peterson is also producing a virtual version of its monthly Cars and coffee event where car enthusiasts come together to talk about cars, and drink coffee. Petrolheads from around the world get the chance to show off their cars by submitting a video that will be added to a 90-minute compilation.
U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs is so brand new it isn’t even open yet. In the meantime, this museum dedicated to telling the story of Team USA in the Olympic and Paralympic Games past and present, is previewing upcoming exhibitions. Right now they’re showcasing historic Olympic torches as well as conducting interviews to preserve the past with StoryCorps.
California African American Museum
You can take a tour of some of the 4,000 objects of art, historical artifacts and memorabilia at the California African American Museum (CAAM) on their website and YouTube channel, where artists and curators explain the art on display. You can also take a look around their #MuseumFromHome on their social channels (@caaminla).
Go to Harvard
Harvard’s science and cultural museums have virtual exhibits and some video online. These include the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, the Harvard Semitic Museum, and the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force
Aviation fan? You can pay a virtual visit to The National Museum of the United States Air Force, in Ohio. The tour of the world’s largest military aviation museum allows virtual visitors to take a 360-degree, self-guided tour of the entire museum. Icons show where to find extra information including videos, audio and even access online educational activities such as lesson plans, word searches and colouring sheets.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Explore nature from your living room with high quality virtual tours of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. The tours enable visitors to navigate each room in the museum and click the camera icon for an up-close view of exhibits on display.