With schools across the nation closed as a result of COVID-19, SoCal Museums has compiled a compelling selection of online educational opportunities for K-12 students from more than 30 museums and cultural institutions throughout Southern California. From easy-to-follow crafts and animal webcams to stargazing and neighborhood birding, families and teachers around the world have access to a wide range of subjects and different learning modalities to enhance at-home learning.
“We knew there was a need for families looking for ideas, tools and inspiration to keep their school-aged children engaged with learning experiences that can be implemented at home,” said Jennifer Caballero, president of SoCal Museums. “Many of our member museums plan to continuously update their offerings as long as this kind of content is helpful.”
Many of the offerings are brand new, while others were pulled from existing resources from each museum. There is no cost to access the online activities, which are accessible to anyone around the world. Participating institutions include The Broad, which is offering weekly art activity tutorials inspired by artists from its collection; the Getty Museum, which is offering lessons on the fundamentals of photography; and many others.
“The SoCal Museums organization reflects the highly collaborative museum community in the region, and we rely on the talents and expertise of our museum educators and specialists in creating materials and programs for families,” Caballero shared. “Once we realized that there were so many helpful resources, it was fairly straightforward to gather the various information and put it in one place to help get the word out.”
SoCal Museums is an organization made up of marketing and communications professionals from museums across Southern California. Its mission is to develop collaborative opportunities between museums and foster dialogue between these professionals at museums in order to learn from each other, network, conceptualize and execute ways to increase visitation to and awareness of Southern California museums. SoCal Museums also presents the Museums Free-for-All Day, where more than 40 museums open their doors and invite visitors to attend free of charge.
“For more than 15 years, SoCal Museums has made arts and culture more accessible to our communities, including visitors from outside the region,” said Caballero. “In the face of this global crisis, our member museums are finding a way to bring exciting and transformative cultural experiences to our younger audiences. We are pleased to offer a wide range of activities to not only local children and educators, but people in other parts of the country and the world.”
Check out the complete list of digital offerings from participating museums and cultural institutions below:
Annenberg Space for Photography: Educational resources, tools and support for educators, including documentaries and resource guides from past exhibitions. All ages.
Armory Center for the Arts: Links to 12 training videos and lesson plans for math and art integration. Grades 2 and 3.
Autry Museum of the American West: Standards-based and self-paced lessons that engage students with Autry collections through interactive activities and connections to home and today. Plus, themed Digital Tours featuring Autry collections. All ages.
Aquarium of the Pacific: An online academy, which includes live classes for students, animal webcams, resource kits and activities, an online learning center, educational videos on demand, the Daily Bubble puppet show and more. All ages.
The Broad: Weekly art activity tutorials inspired by artists from the Broad collection, which will be released every Friday morning on social media. Grades K to 6.
Bowers Museum: Bowers at Home, a portal with digital exhibition access, virtual learning, community resources and more. All ages.
California Science Center: #StuckAtHomeScience for families to explore and learn together using easy-to-find household supplies. All ages.
Catalina Island Museum: Projects related to the “Catalina Ambassadors Program,” coloring pages and digital puzzles created from paintings from their exhibitions. All ages.
Cayton Children’s Museum: #CaytonRecess with storytelling, sing-alongs, creative exercises and artmaking every weekend on YouTube. Toddlers-10 and families.
City of STEM Science Festival: STEM resources from over 100 partner organizations, curated in a way that is easy and accessible for kids, parents and teachers. Grades pre-K to 12.
Columbia Memorial Space Center: Its most popular, creative and engaging activities online, from engineering to chemistry. Grades pre-K to 8.
Craft Contemporary: Craft at Home, a new series of easy-to-follow craft activities for the whole family. All ages.
Descanso Gardens: #DescansoatHome, which includes virtual tours, nature and science activities, including how-tos on taking a nature walk and crafts. Ages 2 to 10 and families.
FIDM Museum: FIDM Museum Family Activity Book, which encourages kids to observe and interact with objects in the collection. All ages.
Fowler Museum at UCLA: A curriculum guide designed for educators, which includes eight lessons inspired by the exhibition “Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths.” Grades K to 12.
Getty Museum: Lessons on the fundamentals of photography as part of a teen-centric education program, “Getty Unshuttered.” The lessons include perspective, composition, shot size, lighting and portraits. Teens.
Glendora Historical Society & Rubel Castle: The history of the castle, tours of grounds, exhibitions, property and the Tin Palace Museum. All ages.
Grammy Museum: Educational lesson plans, such as GRAMMY In The Schools Mini-Lessons, paying tribute to our musical heritage. All ages.
Hammer Museum: Indoor inspiration on Pinterest, featuring artmaking activities inspired by the collection. Ages 5 to 10.
Heroes Hall Museum and Education Center offers curriculum guides, covering topics including the local military history of Orange County and WWII in general. Grades 6 to 12.
The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens: Virtual classroom instruction for educators. Grades K to 12.
Japanese American National Museum: Educational content and resources for the classroom and at home, including at-home hands-on activities and virtual interviews. Grades K to 12, families.
Kidspace Children’s Museum: Learning at home with Kidspace-At-Home—curated programming and resources developed to spark connection, creativity, laughter and inspiration. Ages 10 and under.
Kleefeld Contemporary at CSULB: Salon and artmaking experiences, and thoughtful activities to aid students and families to explore their feelings through art. All ages.
Laguna Art Museum: At-home art activities inspired by the museum’s exhibitions and collections. All ages.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): Online curricular resources that foster creativity, inspire personal growth, and enhance learning. Grades K–12. LACMA@Home offers additional digital resources to think and learn about art. All ages.
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust offers guides for educators for teaching the Holocaust through primary sources and Holocaust survivor testimony, as well as short student-created films about the lives of Holocaust survivors. Grades 6 to 12.
Muckenthaler Cultural Center: Virtual haiku workshop for families led by Muck Artist in Residence, Katharine Zaun.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA): Virtual MOCA: Back to School; Every Monday, MOCA educators lead a new family-friendly activity through interactive workshops, virtual Talking Tours, and classroom curriculum discussions. Grades K to 12.
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) offers explorations of its exhibitions, collection and beyond. All ages.
Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County offers NHMLAC Connects, a new digital portal to discover and learn about nature, science and culture from the safety of our homes. Grades K–12.
Norton Simon Museum: Ways to explore the Museum’s collection from home with artmaking projects, videos, meditations and more. All ages.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute: Online high school speech and debate competition. Grades 9 to 12.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art: Activities for indoors, outdoors and online, including guides for neighborhood birding and backyard observations, stargazing guides, coloring sheets, nature games and more. All ages.
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Sea Center: Activities for indoors, outdoors or online, including guides for neighborhood birding and backyard observations, stargazing guides, coloring sheets, nature games and more. All ages.
Skirball Cultural Center: Weekly #SkirballAtHome, family-friendly art projects, plus suggestions for ways to build community, even from our homes. Ages 4 to 12.
Wende Museum: #WendeOnline, featuring educational resources, including creative activities based on exhibitions, access to the online collection, and interactive museum programs. All ages.
For more information, visit socalmuseums.org.