With museums closed, here are 5 great online museum experiences

By Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

CHICAGO — A few advantages to digital museumgoing: 1. No lines. 2. No fees. 3. No alarms sounding when you venture a little too close to the item on exhibit.

So below are five great ways to visit museums digitally during this resurgent COVID-19 pandemic.

What's behind this? The big Chicago-area museums have closed down again. With coronavirus rates in the state and region rising dramatically, museums operating indoors fell under a general state order that also shut indoor casinos, theaters and, at least according to the rules, restaurants.

A person could question why a health club operating at 25% capacity, which is still allowed, is less likely to spread coronavirus than bemasked museum patrons peering at artworks. But as civic-minded institutions the museums are, of course, complying.

And this pause in their cautious reopening during the pandemic offers a kind of test case. Most institutions — and especially the ones that never reopened and are waiting for a full return to public-health normalcy to do so — have been touting their strategic pivot to digital programming.

Doing so, they say, will keep their offerings before the public in the short term and make them more nimble and more widely accessible in the long term.


Beyond the well-documented peregrinations of the Shedd Aquarium penguins, which most recently visited the hallowed turf at Soldier Field, here are five museum visits you can make right now:

1. Explore nature with your kids

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park is one of the larger museums that chose not to open back up this summer. Beginning in July, it's been crafting a series of "Curious By Nature" YouTube videos that run 3 to 10 minutes long and are aimed at younger viewers. There are now 26 in the series, and they cover topics ranging from bird migration to the differences between reptiles and amphibians to nature-based art activities.

2. The museum of ideas


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