Museums

Cure Cabin Fever With Digital Tours of Museums in Chicago—And Beyond

Photo courtesy of the Adler Planetarium

Cooped up at home? You’d better be. And hopefully the only ailment you’re feeling is cabin fever. Fortunately, there’s a convenient cure for that, as multiple museums and institutions across Chicago have introduced virtual tours, allowing you to meander through exhibitions and immerse yourself in a different time and place, all from the comfort of your couch!

Photo by Brenna Hernandez/Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium

Your best bet is Google’s Arts & Culture archive, which has nearly 500 museums across the country that you’re able to explore and features numerous iconic options from Chicago. These include juggernauts like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium, all of which are enormous enough that you can really disappear into these spaces and spend some substantial time in an environment that isn’t your living room for a change.

The site also features smaller museums that you may not know as much about, like Pilsen’s beautiful National Museum of Mexican Art and the DuSable Museum of African American History, as well as Hyde Park’s ornate Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

Photo courtesy of the National Hellenic Museum

The National Hellenic Museum in Greektown, home to the largest collection of Greek-American artifacts in the world, is only a click away thanks to the institution’s free digital archives, which boasts a whopping 20,000-plus array of historical photos, newspapers, books, recorded oral histories, and much more.

If animals is your thing, then check out Brookfield Zoo’s Facebook page, which is featuring different up-close-and-personal videos of its residents each day as part of its ongoing web series, “Bring the Zoo to You.”

Of course, one of the best parts of having access to digital museum tours is that you needn’t stay in Chicago. With resources like Google’s Arts & Culture collection, you’re free to explore the famed Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe (I was just there in December and it’s amazing), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, New York City’s Frick Collection, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, among numerous others. Heck, you can even explore the White House!

National Museum of Mexican Art/Photo by Bradley Kirouac

So the next time you feel like you need a break from Netflix—or in my case, Disney Plus, let’s be real—check out the wonderful world of digital museums and enjoy the pleasant distraction.