When You Can’t Go IRL: Take Virtual Tours of Art & Culture in the OKC Metro

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There are times when taking your kiddos out of the house for an outing just isn’t feasible. Maybe it’s after a particularly busy week of work, after school activities, and social commitments. Or, it’s not financially possible that particular month. Sometimes the venue is closed. Being cooped up in the house doesn’t mean you can’t still explore the outside world. For our family, the art and culture world is an interest that we all share. If it is for your family as well, take a look at this list of online art and culture venues that your family can explore when you can’t go IRL (in real life). 

Google Arts & Culture Virtual Tours

I had no idea that this resource even existed until I stumbled upon it in my research. Friends, if you and your family appreciate art and culture, you will LOVE this Google site. From the comfort of our living room my kids enjoyed taking virtual tours that included seeing the inside of Anne Franks’ childhood home, seeing Stonehenge at ground level, viewing art in the Tokyo National Museum, and even exploring inside of the International Space Station!

Google Art & Culture offers virtual tours of several Oklahoma City art and culture venues as well as others around the state. For an even more immersive experience, several offer an option to view the venue from a IRL viewpoint. To do this, when you are in the museum’s virtual page, click on the yellow “street view” image on the right hand corner of the top image to switch to the “in person” view. The venues with this option are labeled  “IRL.”

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum – IRL
Oklahoma Historical Society
Oklahoma Mural Syndicate
Oklahoma City Museum of Art – IRL
Philbrook Museum of Art – IRL
Stafford Air & Science Museum – IRL
Western Avenue Association murals

Stand-alone Virtual Tours

These two venues offer virtual tours on their websites.  If your family happens to have certain brands of virtual reality (VR) headsets, use your phone to log on to the websites, attach your phone to your headset and get a really cool view of the entire museum.

Ninety-Nines Museum of Women Pilots
Oklahoma History Center

Digital Archives

This group of websites don’t offer virtual tours, but they do offer images, audio recordings, and other materials from their collections that you can explore at home.

Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art 
Extend your museum education experience at home! The education guides provide information about works of art and the corresponding materials include fun, do-at-home activities.
Moore-Lindsay Historic House Museum
A significant portion of the more than 5,000 items in the museum is available in digital format for online viewing. Items include artifacts, paper archives, photographs, slides, recordings, books, and newspapers.
Oklahoma History Kids
Kids can explore lots of historical artifacts on their own on this site. There are also many fun activities for them to do. 
Oklahoma State Capitol
View all of the art in the state capital’s collection. The site includes descriptions and lessons.

University of Oklahoma Libraries offers several digital collections, including the following:
“Galileo’s World: An Exhibition Without Walls” – 
Every item on physical display is represented on the website. Over 300 works have been fully digitized and are available for viewing online.
John and Mary Rare Books Digital Collections 
Western Heritage Digital Collections

With so many arts and culture venues to explore, where will you and your kiddos go on your virtual tour?

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Christina Mushi-Brunt
Christina and her family moved to SW OKC from Indiana in 2014 . She married her high school sweetheart, Cliff, an AP sports journalist, 16 years ago and they have three kiddos: son, Elias (13) and daughters, Evangelina (11) and Eden (8). She is a former college professor/public health researcher turned PTA president/dance mom. She has a heart for public policy/advocacy work, particularly in areas affecting children, marginalized and vulnerable populations. Her family’s mission statement is “Love God; Love Others.” As a family they volunteer together often, enjoy traveling, and hold impromptu dance challenges in their living room.

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