The Harvard Art Museums announced today a new range of free digital offerings, providing audiences at home the opportunity to engage with the museums while temporarily closed. A newly created webpage, Harvard Art Museums from Home (harvardartmuseums.org/museumsfromhome), gathers online tools and virtual programs in one location, easily accessible through the museums’ homepage. Each Thursday, the museums will add content to the Harvard Art Museums from Home page, showcasing new stories as well as previously published material. Audiences can also keep up with offerings by subscribing to the museums’ email newsletters and by following the museums on social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter).
“From the moment we decided to close temporarily for the safety of our visitors and staff, we began looking for ways to carry on our work and connect with our audiences as part of the museums’ core mission of teaching and training,” said Martha Tedeschi, the Elizabeth and John Cabot Moors Director of the Harvard Art Museums. “During this unprecedented time, I hope that our audiences can take a moment to pause with us, when they can, to engage with works of art.”
Art Talks — a series of short informal videos prerecorded by curators, conservators, fellows, and graduate students—offers weekly up-close examinations of a range of objects from the museums’ collections. Two talks available now focus on the museums’ special exhibition Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection: Painting Edo, a general virtual tour of the galleries narrated by exhibition co-curator Rachel Saunders, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Curator of Asian Art; and a second, Painting Edo and the Transcendence of Laughter, focuses on a unique set of Zen paintings in the show discussed by Leah Justin-Jinich, Ph.D. candidate in Harvard’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and a graduate intern in the museums’ Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art. The first in the series, How Egyptian Art Works, is by Jen Thum, the Inga Maren Otto Curatorial Fellow in the Division of Academic and Public Programs.
In May, the museums began offering Art Study Center Seminars at Home, a biweekly series presented live on Zoom on Fridays at 11am EDT. The series is a virtual continuation of seminars that have traditionally been held on Fridays in the museums’ Art Study Center. Curators, curatorial fellows, conservators, and special guests will present on a variety of original works of art and discuss new research. The seminars are free and available to all, but interested participants must preregister. Check the new Art Study Center Seminars at Home webpage for a list of offerings and instructions.
Virtual Student Guide Tours — the museums’ Ho Family Student Guides are offering live tours on Zoom. The schedule, to run through May, includes tours on Tuesdays at 8pm EDT, Thursdays at noon EDT, and Saturdays at 11am EDT. Guides present their own unique, thematic tours, adapted from the tours they developed for the museums’ galleries during their training for the program. Details and links to participate can be found on the Virtual Student Guide Tours webpage. Audiences can also follow the student guides through their Instagram channel HarvardArtHappens, where they are also hosting IGTV Guide Chats and trivia games.
Family-friendly offerings include a recently launched tool to explore sculpture at the museums, which provides prompts for thinking, drawing, and other creative exercises around sculptures such as an ancient Chinese earthenware horse. A forthcoming coloring and activity book, based on works of ancient Egyptian art in the museums’ collections, features mini-lessons on Egyptology and the pigments used by ancient Egyptian artists. Produced by curatorial fellow Jen Thum in collaboration with artist and archaeologist Hannah Herrick, the book will soon be available as a free downloadable PDF through the Harvard Art Museums from Home page.
Other Online Resources
A vast archive of over 600 multimedia stories can be explored in the museums’ online magazine Index, including behind-the-scenes looks at projects in the conservation labs, stories about the famed Forbes Pigment Collection, original staff research, and more. The latest stories include a conservator’s personal journey to France to learn how to make blue paper, and an examination of political posters made by Ben Shahn in the 1940s. Other upcoming offerings include a selection of images that readers can download and use as virtual backgrounds for teleconferencing; a new Staff Picks series that features videos of staff members discussing their favorite objects in the museums’ collections; and biweekly recommendations of books, movies, podcasts, and more focused on arts and culture.
The museums’ website continues to provide access to our world-class collections—approximately 250,000 artworks that range from ancient to contemporary—through the Browse Our Collections tool. Search by multiple criteria and discover high-resolution images and in-depth information about objects in all media.
About the Harvard Art Museums
The Harvard Art Museums house one of the largest and most renowned art collections in the United States, and are comprised of three museums (the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler Museums) and four research centers (the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, the Harvard Art Museums Archives, and the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis). The Fogg Museum includes Western art from the Middle Ages to the present; the Busch-Reisinger Museum, unique among North American museums, is dedicated to the study of all modes and periods of art from central and northern Europe, with an emphasis on German-speaking countries; and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum is focused on Asian art, Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern art, and Islamic and later Indian art. Together, the collections include approximately 250,000 objects in all media. The Harvard Art Museums are distinguished by the range and depth of their collections, their groundbreaking exhibitions, and the original research of their staff. Integral to Harvard University and the wider community, the museums and research centers serve as resources for students, scholars, and the public. For more than a century they have been the nation’s premier training ground for museum professionals and are renowned for their seminal role in developing the discipline of art history in the United States. The Harvard Art Museums have a rich tradition of considering the history of objects as an integral part of the teaching and study of art history, focusing on conservation and preservation concerns as well as technical studies. harvardartmuseums.org
The Harvard Art Museums receive support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
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