This Week’s Destinations for Digital Culture: July 29 to August 4

Jenamarie Boots Exhibitions

View from the Fleming Museum of Art’s virtual tour.

Vermont Arts Online

Vermont Arts Online – curated by Sarah Briggs and Sarah Laursen of the Middlebury College Museum of Art – gathers together virtual tours of many Vermont institutions and makes them available to more easily browse online. The virtual exhibitions map allows you to search by region and select a corresponding institution; if you prefer to browse by catalogue-style entries, you can do that too!

Here are some TMA favorites to start with:

  • The Billings Farm & Museum: this virtual tour allows you a glimpse inside a country store, traditional farmhouse, and farm workshop. Learn about typical Vermont farm family life – all while touring four original historic barns.
  • The Fleming Museum of Art: a Vermont darling, this museum contains the most comprehensive collection of art and anthropological artifacts in the state. With a trove of more than 20,000 objects to explore, you are sure to find something of interest while you “walk” through!
  • Middlebury College Museum of Art: as with the Fleming, the expansive collection of this institution promises exhibitions that almost anyone can enjoy. The primary installation in the virtual tour is Lost Luxuries: Ancient Chinese Gold, which was closed to physical access earlier this year.

View from the Vizcaya Museum & Garden’s virtual tour.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Miami, FL

Visiting Vizcaya has never been easier! The Mediterranean Revival villa built between 1914 and 1923 for industrialist James Deering has been fully re-created online. The 32 decorated rooms and 10 acres of formal gardens are included. On the ground floor, the Music Room is a feast for the eyes, and includes a 17th century harpsichord and case that is sure to impress. The Deering Sitting Room in the east gallery is equally impressive; be sure to look upward at the ceiling or you will miss the Paul Chalfin design! In the Belgioioso room of the North Gallery, take note of the lovely 16th century console and an enviable full-length mirror. The so-called Secret Garden is not-so-secret, but a great space to walk through; the cacti and succulents make for an enjoyable botanical juxtaposition against the stately architecture.

Both the outdoor and indoor views are easy to browse by using the mini-map on the left side of the screen. The tour is best viewed in a desktop browser.

View from the Chertsey Museum’s virtual tour of Roaring Twenties.

Chertsey Museum, Surrey, UK 

The Chertsey Museum – a local museum in the borough of Runnymede in southern England – has put its exhibitions and collections online. The Chertsey has a strong group of historical fashion and textile objects, including more than 4,000 items of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing dating from c.1700 to the present. To mark their 50th anniversary, the museum commissioned replicas of a rare wedding ensemble from their collection. The original garments, and the process used to create the replicas, are explored in this video. Combined with its other collections, the Chertsey’s total item availability is a little over 20,000 – plenty to browse and enjoy!

The museum’s online exhibitions include the Roaring Twenties, offering both text and images, as well as a virtual tour – and their churches and local history exhibitions are also worth a look.

View of the New York Public Library’s City Schools show in the Urban Archive.

Urban Archive

Urban Archive collects stories put together by various institutions and places them on an interactive map; thus far, they have focused their efforts on New York City and their most abundant collection is available here. The New York Public Library and the New York Transit Museum – along with many other familiar NYC institutions – have put together impressive tours of their collections, which contain artifacts from all five boroughs.

A few TMA favorites from the collections:

Fission Chips by Ruth Adler Schnee, manufactured by KnollTextiles, 2012. Polyester. Cranbrook Art Museum, photo by PD Rearick.

Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI

If you missed Ruth Adler Schnee: Modern Designs for Living at the Cranbrook Art Museum, which closed earlier this year, you have another chance! The exhibition covering the career of the master textile designer has been digitized and made into a virtual tour. Through vintage fabrics, archival drawings and photography, and assorted ephemera, the prolific designer’s work comes alive in this exhibition. Modern interior design owes a great deal to Schnee, who created textile patterns that helped define the mid-century American modernist aesthetic. Her vibrant colors and energizing textures will warm your spirit a bit as we continue to weather the pandemic.

Numerous other virtual exhibitions are also available, including a look at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (1950-1969). As the Cranbrook reminds us on their exhibitions page, be sure to zoom in and out using the scroll function of your mouse and click on the colored circles for details about artworks and related exhibition content.

Jenamarie Boots