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CONVERGE | Entertainment

Ways You Can Get Cultured from Your Couch

June 23, 2020

The show (and museum tours) must go on!

With an increasing number of world-renowned museums and cultural institutions making their exhibitions available online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, you no longer have to leave the comfort of your couch to get cultured.

Spend Any Night (or Day) at the Museum

Home to the original “Night at the Museum," the American Museum of Natural History in New York City delivers engaging and educational online activities for science enthusiasts of all ages. Among the highlights: Guided hall tours and weekly YouTube watch parties in its #StayHome #LearnWithMe initiative. The museum even curated an artistic digital scavenger hunt, in which kids are tasked with finding and coloring six different kinds of microbes.

Armchair patrons can also explore Google Arts & Culture's collection, which includes the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Guggenheim in New York City and the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, along with hundreds of other venues across the disciplines of art, history and science.

There's even a #MuseumMomentofZen hashtag on Instagram, which features masterpieces shared by the U.S. facilities (The Met in New York City, the Harvard Art Museum, the Smithsonian and the Field Museum in Chicago) and international venues (the Pacific Bonsai Museum, the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, even the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany).

Even better, you can try your hand at creating a masterpiece of your own with free online cartooning classes highlighted by the Charles M. Schulz Museum. (Don't miss its "How to Draw" instructional printouts for Snoopy and Charlie Brown.) Or for more sophisticated learning, explore one of many courses and specializations offered by the Museum of Modern Art, including Modern Art & Ideas, What Is Contemporary Art, and Postwar Abstract Painting.

Stroll Beyond the Aisles of Artwork 

For fashion history enthusiasts, the Cincinnati Museum Center's newest video series, Vintage Beauties, is available as part of its online Wonder Zone, where “curiosity is far too big to fit into a museum." Join in as the Senior Director of Museum Experience explores fashion from the 1920s to the 1980s and discusses how the decade's political and social climates influenced beauty standards and style for women.

Fotografiska New York, home to some of the world's best photography, has flipped the camera on its photographers, framing them as the subjects. Its online-only exhibit,The Foto Sessions, showcases virtual galleries, storytelling and artist insights.

Or for an inside look at how to "Live Like a Rockefeller," the collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller being auctioned by Christie's New York is accessible via an online tour. Peruse through their dining sets (cabbage tureen cover and stand, anyone?), furniture, decorative pieces and other family treasures like the Rockefeller Money Clip, appraised at $75,000, and The T-Cart, a wooden carriage circa 1875. 

If good, old-fashioned books are more your thing, you'll be left breathless at the 360-degree virtual tour of The Baroque Library at the Klementinum in Prague. Heralded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, the massive hall dates to 1722 and contains more than 20,000 volumes of theological literature. The technology for the tour delivers a view so robust, don't be surprised if you get dizzy.

You can also get reading yourself thanks to the 200-plus classic art books in the Guggenheim's digital archive — everything from Amazons of the Avant-Garde and Kandinsky in Paris to Elements of Modern Painting and Picasso and the War Years, 1937-1945.

The Show Must Go On

Broadway lovers who revel in the notion that "The Shows Must Go On" will love the YouTube channel of that very name, which streams a full version of an Andrew Lloyd Webber favorite every Friday at 2 p.m. Eastern that is accessible for 48 hours. Highlights from such productions as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Phantom of the Opera are showcased for anytime viewing.

With its performances indefinitely cancelled or postponed, the Royal Opera House is live-streaming a variety of shows on its #OurHouseToYourHouse playlist on YouTube, including AnastasiaThe Metamorphosis and La Traviata. Also offered are behind-the-scenes conversations and highlights from directors, performers, and choreographers on its Facebook page.

The illustrious Lincoln Center's relaunch of its #LincolnCenterAtHome endeavor enables visitors around the globe to partake in its performances. New videos are posted every day for music lovers both young and old, and its On Demand section shares links to digital archives for film, music, dance and theater, Q&As with artists and workshops.

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