Whether we are self-isolating or sheltering in place, virtual travel transports us to new worlds. Spain and Italy may be locked down, but you can still tour the Prado in Madrid or the Uffizi in Florence online. Here are links to museum tours, cultural events, quarantine book clubs and more. Let’s not merely pass the time but do something fun and meaningful during this extended period.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have forced the world’s most admired art museums to shutter their doors, but that doesn’t mean their galleries are locked away. Here’s a listing of the websites of 14 museums and galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Tate Gallery in London.
The Google Arts & Culture Project offers an extended tour of many of the world’s great museums and galleries. There are hundreds of places to be an armchair tourist. Museums include Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Jewish Museum and a selection of Smithsonian museums.
In Tel Aviv, the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfusot (originally known as the Museum of the Diaspora) has a dedicated link for online tours of its exhibits. There are also online opportunities for researching family history and connecting with global Jewish communities.
The 92nd Street Y in Manhattan has robust programming online. The institution is celebrating over a century of cultural offerings. It notes on its website: “During this unprecedented time, our need for connection is urgent and we are putting all our resources into finding ways in which we can bring you exceptional content from the programs of 92Y. Here’s where you can find new live-streamed concerts and events, highlights from our archives, family activities and ways our community can gather together online.”
The Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) offers “The Quarantine Book Club.” The first offering, a conversation with novelists Tova Mirvis and Rachel Kadish, had over 500 registrants. Future programs feature novelist Rachel Barenbaum and memoirist Esther Safran Foer. JWA is also presenting a virtual scavenger hunt on its site. The organization notes: “As we move indoors to ensure public safety, all of us (especially those with kids) are looking for worthwhile distractions and innovative learning solutions. Participate in JWA’s virtual scavenger hunt, and explore the stories of inspiring Jewish women on jwa.org.”
From self-quarantine, “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot has done the oral equivalent of cutting and pasting together a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” A bevy of celebrities belts out a line or two of the song before passing the virtual baton to the next person. Natalie Portman, Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Fallon are among those featured. Meant to boost spirits, Gadot and company have come under fire for the equivalent of navel-gazing in these dark times. Here’s the video. Decide for yourself!
It’s almost cherry blossom time in Washington, D.C. The National Cherry Blossom Festival has devised a way to enjoy this spectacular bit of nature from the confines of home. “Bloom Watch” advertises live updates and performances to buoy spirits.
What cultural opportunities have you found online? Let us know in the comments!