Boston businesses, monuments, and schools have temporarily closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. While Bostonians wait out the virus at home, many of the city’s galleries and cultural attractions have found ways to come to them. Virtual tours and immersive experiences are available at the click of a mouse in this digital age. Enjoy a digital vacation in Beantown; the only thing missing is the iconic Boston accent.
Beauty in Boston
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Google Arts & Culture, a handy resource for couch tourists around the world, has helped museums and cultural attractions go online, including the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Modeled after a Venetian palazzo, the self-guided tour of the museum is striking. Wander gardens and lushly furnished rooms covered in Italian art. Virtual tourists will notice tabs pop up at the bottom of their screen offering a more detailed look at specific paintings and artifacts. The museum also offers 6 collections and 2 online exhibits. One of the exhibits is dedicated to an art heist that occurred in the museum! It details the 13 works of art that were stolen in 1990 and the methods the thieves used.
Boston Fine Arts Museum
The Boston Fine Arts Museum provides an expansive virtual tour of the entire building. Explore independently or use the slides at the bottom of the screen to fast-travel to specific rooms. The museum has 16 curated online exhibits with a heavy focus on fashion. Appreciate the comfort of sweatpants while enjoying a detailed look at intricate, hand-embroidered 15th-century apparel. The online exhibits also spotlight art conservancy. These exhibits give a behind-the-scenes look at the talented scientists that keep Boston art healthy and pristine.
Visiting the Past in the Present
Massachusetts Historical Society
The Massachusetts Historical Society, the first such society in the United States, has been fulfilling its mission to preserve American History since 1792. The museum has two online exhibits. The first is dedicated to father and son presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and is an exploration of their personal papers including letters to and from Abigail Adams. The second features Thomas Jefferson. Besides being a gifted writer, Jefferson was a talented draftsman. The exhibit showcases the drafts of his Monticello home. The museum is not provided self-guided tours at this time.
U.S.S. Consitution Museum
History buffs have e-tours available by land and sea. The U.S.S. Constitution Museum has a wealth of online exhibits dedicated to “Old Ironsides.” Take a deep dive into the War of 1812 or learn more about the past and present crews aboard the Constitution. Visual learners can watch a series of videos involving interviews with historians and crew members. There is footage of the navy ship in action in Boston Harbor that puts into perspective the sheer size of the vessel. The website has a dedicated section for young learners which includes a downloadable activity book and hands-on activities for the entire family.
Fun for the Whole Family
Boston Children's Museum
Parents can plan a virtual field trip to the Boston Children's Museum and discover 3 floors of family fun. The point-and-click interface is kid-friendly with arrows to help youngsters navigate through exhibits and a drag feature for 360-degree views. Parents and children can digitally discover together in the Construction Zone, a massive, city-scape exhibit dedicated to how cities are built and what makes each one unique. The website has a page for learning resources where parents can sign up for e-mails with daily activities to help with distance learning. Previous home activities are available in the activities archive.
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Music lovers can rejoice! The Boston Symphony Orchestra has created an aural and visual online experience. Artistic Administrator, Anthony Fogg, has personally taken on the task of releasing archived performances. Tune in at 10 a.m. every day of the week for the newest additions. Weekly playlists are also available with continuous play options. Listeners have the chance for a backstage peek, too. Videos are available with footage of rehearsals and interviews with both conductors and musicians. The BSO Homeschool page provides lesson plans dedicated to archived youth and family concerts. Music students can even take video lessons with members of the orchestra. Be sure to keep checking back for new editions to the site; an instrument demonstration section is still forthcoming.