More Museums online, plus other Digital Destinations

Jenamarie Boots Exhibitions

Youth by Arthur F. Mathews, 1917. Oil on canvas, 39 by 50 inches. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California, gift of Concours d’Antiques, the Art Guild.

Oakland Museum of California

OMCA has an impressive digitized collection of its many historical artifacts, works of art, ethnographic materials, and natural specimens. Among them, these snuff bottles will be of interest. We found this rendition of a blue crab quite fun, as well as this horse tied to a hitching post in carved relief. Those who are fond of the Arts and Crafts movement will enjoy OMCA’s collection of works by Arthur and Lucia Mathews – billed as the largest and most comprehensive collection of Mathews works in the world. Over 500 artworks and objects are included – among them: paintings, sketches, furniture, and frames, as well ephemera and other archival material. The Franc Pierce Hammon Memorial Windows are a beautiful example the Mathew’s shop’s masterpieces in glass, while this Dining Table with Decorated Top is proof that their production was no less impressive in other mediums.

Readers who follow us on Instagram are familiar with our #AntiqueOfTheDay posts, but may want to add OMCA’s Object of the Week to their lineup too. The objects in question include the very topical 1918 flu masks, as well as this remarkable, hand-carved vase by Haruko Obata.

Those looking for video content will enjoy browsing OMCA’s YouTube collections. Their short series on the world of Ray and Charles Eames, and the collodion negative/print videos that accompany the museum’s Andrew J. Russell exhibition are worth a view.


Online tour view. The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, UK.

The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, UK

Apart from being a remarkable space, ORNC’s virtual tour stands out as a digital experience for its accessibility features. The guided portion of the tour is available in both English and British Sign Language, and all descriptions are available in text with audio narration. Smartphone users can also enjoy the experience in VR.

A view of the Lower Hall’s painted ceiling – which includes images of a captured Spanish galleon, figures representing the rivers Avon, Severn, and Humber, the goddess Diana, and the astronomers Copernicus, Tycho Brahe and John Flamsteed – is part of the tour, and can be seen in detail by clicking a magnifying glass marked “Ultra High Resolution.” The paintings of the Upper Hall are not to be missed either. There are four significant paintings rendered around the room: Queen Anne is seen in a portrait group on the ceiling, one wall depicts the members of House of Hanover (which ascended to the throne on Anne’s death), and a pair of large scenic grisaille paintings. Set in the floor are commemorative plaques for British naval heroes Horatio Lord Nelson and Cuthbert Lord Collingwood.


Online view of A Seat at the Copacabana by Rylie Cooke, 2020.

Open Culture

Open Culture presents a range of educational and cultural material – online courses, movies, audiobooks, eBooks, and other resources – and makes it easily accessible via alphabetized, browse-able collection lists.

Many of the offerings are fun, and off-beat. Here are a few TMA favorites:

  • You can listen to classic rock songs played on a baroque lute: “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “White Room” and more are included. Daniel Estrem, the musician, has a YouTube channel hosting all of these videos, should you enjoy the lute performances.
  • German expressionistic cinema is stark, sometimes grotesque and often bleak, but sometimes there is comfort in that. For ten options – including the notable classics Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligarivisit this collection list.
  • The New York Supper Club: From Nightlife to Social Distancing is a series of online exhibitions created in collaboration between students from the Parsons School of Design and City Reliquary, a quasi-museum focused on New York City ephemera. The  interactive features in the program re-imagine the heyday of city nightlife in the 1940’s to 1960’s. Hongxi Chen’s Dim – 1951 China Doll Night Club is an arresting and challenging feature with a great deal of interactivity, sure to keep you busy for a while.

Mother of God of the Sign, Russian, c. 1780. Egg tempera on wood. Museum of Russian Icons.

Museum of Russian Icons

Start your exploration of the Museum of Russian Icons collection by visiting their virtual tour, powered by Google Arts & Culture. If you find or have a particular item in mind – like In Thee Rejoiceth – you can find it immediately in-virtual-situ by selecting “View in Street View” from the Google Arts & Culture collection page.

The museum has a number of other digital offerings beyond the tour. Among them:


Autry Museum of the American West

The Autry is the one of the first we at TMA know of soliciting material for preservation from this momentous period. In Collecting Community History: A Regional Collections Initiative of Exploration and Preservation, the Autry is calling for experiences and materials related to COVID-19. Objects the Autry has noted of interest are face masks, photographs, and recipes. To read more about the submission process, visit their form here. As submissions are received, they will be highlighted on the Autry’s blog – so bookmark it to visit later.

Jenamarie Boots