Nothing quite matches the sensory experience of walking through a museum, but a handful of local institutions offer online tours that come close, thanks to 3D imaging, photos and videos. Here are five Arizona museums you can explore from anywhere.
Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum remains closed until further notice, but you can still explore the institution’s collections virtually and participate in events like The Whole Story: Part XII, a live storytelling show that “celebrates the nuances of our humanity through personal stories told from the Black perspective,” according to the museum’s website. If you want to get a little more “hands on,” you can participate in virtual scavenger hunts on the museum’s Facebook page. The next one is scheduled for Friday, July 17.
Arizona Science Center
Though the Arizona Science Center building remains off access for now, you can take a 3D Google maps tour on their website that includes the entryway and lower level of the facility. There’s also a cornucopia of online learning activities, including fun lessons on how to make robotic hands, apple mummies, vinegar volcanoes, bottled rainbows and more. The science center also hosts live demos on its Facebook page for a more real-time feel.
Musical Instrument Museum
While exploring Arizona’s two-story Louvre of musical instruments on foot isn’t feasible for now, virtual tours of some Musical Instrument Museum galleries can be had on MIM’s YouTube page. The museum’s “Mini Music Makers” classes for children five and younger are being offered online every Wednesday. Exhibitions are still on digital display through photos and videos.
Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting
The Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting, one of the largest and most unique museums in Arizona, also has one of the largest websites, chock-full of video tours and photo galleries of its extensive exhibits. See fire alarms, extinguishers, hoses, helmets and fire trucks from all eras (including horse-drawn fire carriages), complete with demo videos for some exhibits that show how the apparatuses were operated at hallofflame.org.
Arizona State Museum
Learn about the history of Arizona through virtual tours of the exhibits at Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona. Highlights include the Paths of Life exhibit, which contains displays about Native American peoples and their history in the state, a virtual reality tour of the Pottery Vault and The Pottery Project exhibit.