Sites we love: Google Arts & Culture

Whether you are counting down the last days of the school year or trying to come up with ways to keep your summer school students awake and on task, Google Arts & Culture is a gem.

Art Resources Even for Students Who Hated Art Class

That’s me, the student who hated art class. I have no artistic talent and I cannot tell the Baroque from the Paleolithic painters. Actually, one of those might be a type of music and the other a class of dinosaurs – which kind of proves my point. So, it is even more surprising how much time I spent on the Google Arts & Culture site.

Why is this cool? Because you can virtually walk around the museum, zooming in, going through doors

Three things you must do on the arts and culture page

Number one: Museum explorer – you absolutely must scroll to the middle of the page where you will see the Museum Explorer section. What is so cool about this, you may ask? Click on any of the featured museums and use your mouse to move around the room, look at paintings or sculpture from different angles, zoom in to read the descriptions and history of the piece and then move down the room and through the door to go to another part of the museum. This is best viewed on a computer.

Number two: Browse the day’s top picks – These are always an eclectic mix so you are sure to find something that interests you. Topics today ranged from the history of Kenya to LGBT activist Harvey Milk to pottery. I checked out the Nairobi National Museum and also learned a new word – vitrine, which means a glass case, like the ones you see in a museum. I also visited an exhibit on Puebla Talavera pottery, from Mexico.

Download the app – It’s available free for iPhone or Android. You can put yourself inside of a famous painting, replicate ancient pottery and a lot more. I very, very seldom download apps but this one was fun. Also, some of the experiments, like making a pot, that did not work on my computer worked on the phone.

Non-art activities worth checking out

I highly recommend the National Parks page. Not every national park site is the same. Some include video tours of the park while others are 3D images you can move around.

The one thing I did not find a lot of on this site, sadly, was neither science in general nor agriculture in particular. There were some sites on cuisine of different communities and a few exhibits on extinct or endangered animals. I thought I might be able to find some information on historical figures like Luther Burbank, but there really wasn’t much. Oh, well, you can’t have everything. I’ll search for more agriculture and science information in next week’s site.

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