Virtual Museum Trips for Youth are Only a Click Away

Two young people at an art gallery.

Field trips to museums are great cultural opportunities for young people, but what if there isn’t a museum nearby? Or what if your budget is too tight to pay for museum admissions?

There are hundreds of exhibits you and your clients can access for free online. From historic artifacts, handwritten letters, and video clips to famed paintings and sculptures, Google Arts & Culture has it all. Recently updated, the website and mobile app can take youth all over the world in just a few clicks or taps.

The digital collection provides staff with endless inspiration for a wide variety of creative activities. Staff can also take youth on ‘virtual guided tours’ through world-class museums such as the Tokyo National Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Google Arts & Culture has so many exhibits that a first-time visitor could easily be overwhelmed. Here are some tips for navigating the website:

  • Start with projects. Located under the ‘Home’ button in the left-hand menu, this section offers topic-specific collections that make it easy to plan activities. For example, the Black History and Culture project has 87 exhibits including, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964,” from the U.S. National Archives, and “African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond,” from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. When you scroll through a project’s page you’ll also encounter virtual tours, collections of images and artifacts, and videos.
  • Search for specific artists or art movements. If you want to showcase works by a particular person or art style, that’s easy to do. When you click the ‘Artists’ and ‘Art Movements’ links in the left-hand menu, you’ll find browsing options at the top of the page— ‘All,’ (a random listing), ‘A-Z,’ (an alphabetical listing), and ‘Time’ (listing by time period). Clicking on the ‘Artists’ category timeline between 1960 and 1980 brings up painters such as Georgia O’Keefe and Keith Haring, and photographer Gordon Parks.
  • Delve into mediums. Here’s the place to indulge young people’s interests in different materials and types of art such as textiles, silk, sculptures, and pottery. Choose a medium and browse works in that category by popularity, time period, or color (look for the floating text, “Organize by”). The ‘Glass’ category, for instance, contains over 6,300 items and a search by color reveals that violet-shaded pieces are especially eye-catching.

The Google Arts & Culture mobile app is free and available for Android and Apple devices.

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Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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