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From Artist Talks to Science Experiments, Miami's Museums Host Online Experiences

A still from a virtual tour of the Haas Brothers' "Ferngully" exhibition at the Bass.EXPAND
A still from a virtual tour of the Haas Brothers' "Ferngully" exhibition at the Bass.
Photo by Zachary Balber

Seeing no immediate end to quarantine conditions, creative minds have been working to find fun ways to help others pass the time and even offer new learning experiences. Though Miami's museums have been forced to close their doors to visitors, many have turned to the digital realm to offer entertaining, educational content to homebound art and history lovers.

Whether your goal is to occupy the kids for a few hours or get a dose of culture, check out this guide to local museums offering virtual tours and other experiences to enjoy at home.

The Bass

2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

The Bass boasts one of the most extensive catalogs of digital learning and virtual resources. Under the "Learn" tab on its website, users will find an array of free educational resources, including lesson plans for homeschooling, artist interviews and discussions, and virtual reality tours of select exhibitions. Powered by the popular 3D data platform Matterport, the museum's site offers four interactive and virtual experiences: Ugo Rondinone's large-scale retrospective "Good Evening Beautiful Blue"; Pascale Marthine Tayou's multimedia exhibit "Beautiful;" Aaron Curry's "Tune Yer Head," a survey of the artist's diverse practice; and the sculptural world of the Haas Brothers in "Ferngully." For younger audiences, the Bass has taken its spring art camps online after its planned programs were suspended. Through fun and interactive STEAM-inspired projects, kids are entertained with hands-on art-making using common household materials. In April, art enthusiasts can look forward to weekly and monthly online programs such as Art for Kids, Teen Art Class, and Breakfast at the Bass. The museum will also open a new exhibition in its virtual gallery on its Instagram page, @TheBassSquared, featuring video works by artist Tracey Moffatt.

Institute of Contemporary Art Miami
Institute of Contemporary Art Miami
Photo by Iwan Baan

Institute of Contemporary Art Miami

61 NE 41st St., Miami

The Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA) has been building an extensive catalog of online content over the past few years. Although its free online resource, ICA Channel, is still in beta testing, gallery tours, artist talks, performance art, and behind-the-scenes looks are now only a click away. Explore Navajo artist Eric-Paul Riege's hometown of Gallup, New Mexico — one of the many ICA Stories available on the institute's website — or head to the Art and Research Center to watch Simon Denny deliver his talk "Technology and the Disruption of Governance."

An Aldabra tortoise at Jungle Island.
An Aldabra tortoise at Jungle Island.
Photo courtesy of Jungle Island

Jungle Island

1111 Parrot Jungle Tr., Miami

Jungle Island has introduced a virtual online learning program for kids aged 5 to 12. Visit the park's Facebook or Instagram pages at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, when Jungle Island's education manager, Emma Guss, leads the virtual learning exercises. Downloadable PDFs, available at the eco-parks homeschool page on its website, will help parents navigate the activities while the young adventurers learn about the attraction's feathered, furry, and scaly friends.

Miami Children's MuseumEXPAND
Miami Children's Museum
Photo courtesy of Kubany Judlowe

Miami Children's Museum

980 MacArthur Cswy., Miami

Miami Children's Museum has your back in the increasingly tricky mission to keep the kids entertained indoors. Bringing the creative and interactive experience of the museum to your home, members of the museum's theater troupe will grab children's attention through educational and fun readings of classic children's books. The first upload, which can be found on the museum's YouTube page, is The Color Monster by Anna Llenas. Get creative with downloadable step-by-step activity guides, such as a Georgia O'Keeffe-inspired project exploring tones and shades of color and texture using tissue paper.

Pérez Art Museum Miami
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Photo by Angel Valentin

Pérez Art Museum Miami

1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

Dive into the digital space of Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), which offers bite-size virtual tours, more than 100 art-talk videos, and curatorial and noncuratorial guided selections of artworks via its YouTube page. Entertain the kids with a step-by-step activity guide from the museum's teaching artists. Make wearable works of art inspired by masquerade-style headwear, or create pieces with a how-to video on Roy Lichtenstein-inspired face paint. Explore slideshows and highlights from PAMM's current exhibitions, such as "The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art," as well as past and upcoming shows, or take an in-depth look at the museum's permanent features in the sculpture garden, complete with informational captions.

Clara Varas' Crescent (Pink and Yellow) is on display at the Frost Art Museum.EXPAND
Clara Varas' Crescent (Pink and Yellow) is on display at the Frost Art Museum.
Photo courtesy of the artist and Spinello Projects

Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum

10975 SW 17th St., Miami

The Frost Art Museum has been engaged in an ongoing effort to digitize its collections to offer more accessibility to the community. Beyond its online collection, which boasts 1,000-plus images available for viewing, the museum also presents three virtual tours. Each exhibition works as an interactive game; simply press play, and you walk through the displays, where you can pause at any time and click on the information buttons to learn more about each work. Wander through "Deconstruction: A Reordering of Life, Politics, and Art" to experience the work of 12 Miami-based artists who examine and deconstruct local realities and global and utopic questions, or delve into the philosophical inquiries, personal reflections, and ruminations of artists in "Spheres of Meaning: An Exhibition of Artists' Books." The exhibition "The Cut: Abstraction in the United States, From the 1970s to the Present" explores a multigenerational group of abstract artists, creating a historical narrative of abstractions' role in American art.

Learn about the history of flight with the Frost Science Museum's exhibit "Feathers to the Stars."EXPAND
Learn about the history of flight with the Frost Science Museum's exhibit "Feathers to the Stars."
Photo by Ra-Haus

Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science

1101 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

"In unprecedented times like these, science is more vital than ever," Frank Steslow, president and CEO of the Frost Museum of Science, said as he unveiled its new digital platform series, Frost Science@Home. Online visitors can now enjoy free educational resources, videos, DIY science activities, and behind-the-scenes content. Take a 360-degree tour of the museum's primary exhibition spaces, including "Feathers to the Stars" — an astounding exploration of the history of flight — and "The River of Grass," which looks at the Everglades' incredible biodiversity. Keep the whole family entertained with at-home learning toolkits, video resources, and activities, including step-by-step experiments courtesy of the Design Lab.

Explore Vizcaya's grounds.
Explore Vizcaya's grounds.
Photo courtesy of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

3251 S. Miami Ave., Coconut Grove

The Coconut Grove gem has launched an interactive virtual tour of the estate that offers an in-depth, 3D look at the rooms of the main house. The inclusion of thematic background music and historic photos give the tour an added theatrical touch. Take a virtual walkthrough of Vizcaya's waterfront grounds and gardens, and interact and explore areas that are inaccessible and off-limits to the public, such as the historic estate's barge and the swimming-pool grotto. For extended learning, head to the "Stories" tab on the museum's website to read about the Miami landmark over the years, including the restoration effort of its original rose garden.

The Wolfsonian-FIU
The Wolfsonian-FIU
Photo courtesy of the Wolfsonian

The Wolfsonian-FIU

1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

Head to the Wolfsonian's digital experience page, where you can view two virtualized exhibitions: "Promising Paradise," a journey into the historical connections between the United States and Cuba from the 1920s through the '50s; and "The Pursuit of Abstraction," an investigation of modern-age spirituality from the Jeri L. Wolfson and Mitchell Wolfson Jr. collections. Each exhibition includes the curator's musings, as well as a 360-degree exploration of the gallery space. For a closer look at the pieces, head to the "Explore the Art" section to link to a slideshow of the complete collection on Flickr, which includes informational captions of each work. You can also find the museum's Knight Foundation-supported initiative, Art of Illumination, to view contemporary art projects and animations projected onto the museum after dark. Last but not least, check out the Wolfsonian's YouTube page to explore more than 65 livestreams, artist talks, and performances.

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