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Visit Philly's Favorite Museums Thanks to Virtual Gallery Tours

By Julia Marnin & Bernie Rodgers | March 30, 2020 | Culture


While staying indoors might be a bit stuffy, Philadelphia’s famed museums—from the Franklin Institute to the National Constitution Center—are anything but. These popular destinations are offering a wealth of virtual tours and digital experiences to carry you through the quarantine. Here, a few of the top museums to take a walk through.

Barnes Foundation

Get acquainted with Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ world-renowned museum, which boasts the largest collection of Impressionist works outside of France. Housing pieces by Pablo Picasso, the Barnes Foundation’s virtual interactive gallery allows you to explore works with search filters. Summon works by their artistic styles or enjoy pieces at random by selecting the shuffle option. The Barnes is also offering tons of online resources including videos of Barnes curators talking about their favorite pieces in the collection and five new online courses.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

While Philadelphia’s iconic art institution has physically closed its doors to the public, they’ve opened them virtually. Look into the minds of artistic masters by viewing the works of Diego Rivera, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse and Rembrandt. Afterwards, experience their in-depth online exhibitions. You can also take a realistic 360-degree tour of their marble French medieval Cloister with Elements from the Abbey of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines.

Penn Museum

Immerse yourself in the history of the world with the Penn Museum’s virtual gallery. Filled with thousands of international artifacts and archeological exhibitions, their world map allows you to explore the collection geographically with the origins of artifacts. Step back into ancient times and view Egyptian treasures on display; or see how your name would appear in hieroglyphs and Mesopotamian cuneiform monograms with one of their virtual interactive features.

The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute has been igniting scientific curiosity and inspiration since 1824… and they are not stopping now. Online, they have a few interactive attractions for visitors to stimulate their minds by diving into the depths of the human brain. Recreate experiments conducted in the museum such as growing crystals by watching their #SparkofScience video series. In their latest video, shot at BlueCross RiverRink, discover the art of ice skating and the scientific explanation of how those graceful moves are made possible.

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

The museum announced a new initiative called PAFA from Home: Inspiration Everywhere, Anywhere to help get us through quarantine. Not only can their permanent collection of American art be viewed online, but the institution will also be offering a selection of continued education classes for adults and children. Plus, take a 360-degree virtual tour of the Historic Landmark and Samuel M.V. Hamilton buildings.

The Woodmere Art Museum

This local museum displays a vast collection of paintings, outdoor sculptures, and photographs from Delaware Valley Area artists such as Mary Cassatt. Peruse their online gallery and browse through artists, stylistic mediums, and time periods. Celebrate the art and life of a revolutionary female Philadelphia artist with the virtual Violet Oakley Experience, which introduces you to over 2,000 of her works created during the American Renaissance. View portraits, landscapes, and more from Oakley, the first woman commissioned to create a set of murals in America when she was asked to do so in Pennsylvania.

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

For over 200 years, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University has served the city through advancing research, education and public engagement with environmental science. Although you can’t view a soaring dinosaur replica face-to-face, you can utilize their Google Arts & Culture site for online exhibits on niche topics from colorful birds to identifying fish species. As well, there’s countless, high-quality photos and descriptions of diverse wildlife and fossils for all to enjoy.

Bucks County Cultural Sites

Bucks County is home to over 30 historical and cultural sites, such as a 9/11 Memorial Garden and the breathtaking Aldie mansion. You can visit them all from your laptop through Bucks County’s website. There, you can find digital tours and also a YouTube “Check-In” series taking you through the various historical inns scattered throughout the region.

Museum of the American Revolution

Nestled in the historic Old City area, this non-profit, non-partisan museum chronicles the birth of the nation and all the fascinating stories that propelled the populace to freedom. From “The Road to Independence” gallery to “The War Begins 1775” exhibit, you can take a 360-degree tour through each immersive display. Their website even offers a digital collection of the museum’s art and artifacts for you to peruse.

National Constitution Center

Opened in 2000, the National Constitution Center proves to be America’s leading resource promoting education, debate and celebration of the core text affirming a free, transparent republic. However, the museum’s range expands far beyond the Constitution and dives into historical moments spanning from the Women’s Suffrage Movement to the Vietnam War. Online, they have curated a vast resource of weekly podcasts, episodes and videos to stimulate your mind from home.

National Museum of American Jewish History

As a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, there’s a vast amount of resources available to the National Museum of American Jewish History—and most of them are available to the public. With over 20,000 culturally-significant objects on display, the museum is also uploading a variety of informational videos onto its Facebook page, such as interviews, lessons and seminars.

Tags: museums