Feeling a sense of déjà vu? Yes, us too. Earlier this month, many San Diego indoor museums and cultural institutions were forced to close their doors just days after re-opening due to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation in the region. Disappointing? You bet. But, public safety always comes first!
Fortunately, our local museums remain committed to providing fun and enriching at-home experiences to help ward off summer boredom and brain-drain.
Here are some of the fantastic virtual experiences you can enjoy this summer from our 40+ member museums, zoo/aquariums, gardens and historic sites throughout San Diego County. There is something for every age and interest – so have some fun exploring #SDmuseumsathome and share your favorite discoveries on social media!
California Center for the Arts, Escondido
Enjoy creative activities for all ages, including “Crafts with Grace” for kids and “Virtual Craft + Sip” happy hour for adults (with signature cocktails perfectly paired with virtual craft tutorials led by different artists).
Mingei International Museum
Virtual art workshops and family events and online gallery of museum’s collection.
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
Online collection, exhibitions, programs, conversations, studio visits and interpretive resources, such as art making activities, student projects, and lesson plans.
Lux Art Institute
Virtual Summer Art Camp for kids and teens, adult and family art classes, weekly On Air Series with guest speakers via Zoom, and a digital residency and exhibition with Guggenheim Fellow Cammie Staros via the Lux Art Institute app.
Museum of Photographic Arts
At-home experiences including weekly live-stream events, art talks and project ideas.
Oceanside Museum of Art
Virtual events, including lectures and workshops, at-home art projects, an online tour of museum’s Sidewalk Activism exhibition and a “Slow Art” experience.
San Diego Art Institute
Online viewing room for the museum’s current exhibition, “Illumination: 21st Century Interactions with Art + Science + Technology,” including sound installations and a downloadable version of our exhibition catalog.
The San Diego Museum of Art
New digital content, including Masterpiece Minute podcasts, SDMA at Play at-home art activities and Virtual SDMA+ performances.
Timken Museum of Art
Online collection, Curator’s Corner video series and resources for teachers and families.
Visions Art Museum
Virtual exhibition opening of Judith Content’s “Shadow Dance,” Melody Money’s “Of Meadows and Blue Skies” and Teri McHale’s “Remnants” on July 18. Activities page with weekly “Stir Crazy” challenges, educational videos, coloring pages and links to galleries of current and past exhibitions.
ZOOS & AQUARIUMS
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Virtual events, educational resources for kids and adults, live kelp cam, coloring and activity sheets, and a new climate change miniseries with virtual Q&A-style live chats with Scripps Oceanography scientists.
Living Coast Discovery Center
Virtual animal encounters, birthday parties, scout programs, composting workshops and webinars via Zoom. Fun animal facts, photos, videos and more on social media.
GARDENS & NATURAL SPACES
Cabrillo National Monument
Outdoor areas are currently open. Indoor areas (including the Visitor Center, park store, lighthouse and some exhibits) remain closed. Website includes educational resources about the site’s history, wildlife and more.
Japanese Friendship Garden
Outdoor spaces are currently open. At-home offerings include digital galleries of collections and exhibits, printable activity sheets, downloadable lesson plans and virtual programming.
San Diego Botanic Garden
The Garden remains open to the public. At-home experiences include virtual walks in the Garden, downloadable activities for families and a virtual camp experience in collaboration with San Diego LabRats.
Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center
Estuary trails are currently open. Lunchtime Live programs held .
every Tuesday (12 p.m.) on Facebook. Digital resources and activities for K-12 students to learn about coastal wetlands and links to visit California State Parks from home through the PORTS Home Learning Program. New series of Junior Ranger videos and at-home lessons coming soon.
Bonita Museum and Cultural Center
Explore the museum’s exhibitions virtually (including the annual student art exhibition and “Nuestra Frontera: South Bay Families at the Border”) with video tours and new content on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Coronado Historical Association and Coronado Museum
Never miss a day of history with Coronado’s “virtual museum,” featuring videos, field notes, archival photos, and other items from the collection.https://coronadohistory.org/blog/category/field-notes/
La Jolla Historical Society
Join the museum for a Virtual Garden Party via Zoom on Aug. 22 (7 p.m.) and follow on Facebook and Instagram for virtual tours, stories, photos and more.
Marston House Museum and Gardens
Online presentation of “Irving Gill: Progress & Poetry in Architecture,” a special exhibition commemorating the noted architect’s 150th birthday.
San Diego History Center
“Share Your Story” for the SDHC archives, oral history tutorial videos, kids’ activities and more.
Save Our Heritage Organisation
Presenting the Presidio Park Plant Survey and encyclopedia as a resource for the current and future protection and restoration of Presidio Park’s historic landscape.
Whaley House Museum
Print-and-go lesson plans, recipes, games and puzzles and educator resources for virtual field trips.
Barona Cultural Center & Museum
Offering customized virtual presentations (via Zoom or other platforms) for groups interested in learning about the culture, heritage, customs and traditions of the Kumeyaay/Diegueño People and the history of the Barona People and Reservation.
San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
Learn more about the museums exhibits and events on its website and social media.
KIDS & FAMILIES
The New Children’s Museum
Creative resources on the website and social media for families to do at home – from summer-themed hands-on DIY art activities and design challenges to printable coloring pages and toddler story-time.
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
Daily videos including STREAM activities, storytime, arts and crafts, music and movement, world culture and other educational resources.
SCIENCE & NATURE
Fleet Science Center
New Fleet TV episodes weekly with fun science experiments and activities to enjoy at home. Virtual camps for kids (through August 14) and monthly Sharp Minds lecture series for adults (currently online).
San Diego Archaeological Center
Virtual Living Room Lectures series, including “10,000 Years: Archaeological Record of San Diego” (July 30) and “History of the Modern Attack Submarine” (Aug. 27). Free digital tours of the museum’s exhibits (using the Cuseum App), Dr. Arty Fax’s weekly kids’ blog and Dig Deeper monthly blog.
San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat)
Nat Talks via Zoom featuring scientists and natural history experts, weekly storytimes, virtual trivia on Friday nights, and lesson plans and downloadable activities for kids.
California Surf Museum
Explore one of the world’s richest troves of surfing history and culture virtually, including current and past exhibition galleries.
Museum of Making Music
“MoMM@Home,” a series of live-streaming events with museum staff and guest musicians sharing their love of music.
TRANSPORTATION & MILITARY
Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
Virtual tour of museum’s collection, plus weekly online lectures with the museum’s curator.
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Explore the museum’s collection of historic boats and unique exhibits and experience the special National Anthem performance at the museum for this year’s Fourth of July Big Bay Boom television broadcast.
San Diego Air & Space Museum
SDASM TV, featuring never-before-seen video footage from the archives, and SDASM Challenges on social media (Tuesdays and Thursdays) for families to complete at home.
San Diego Automotive Museum
Explore the museum virtually, including its current exhibition, “That 70s Car Show,” and follow along on social media for fun car facts, trivia games, behind-the-scenes videos and more.
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Virtual summer camps (through July 30). Online exhibits (“Iron Women” and “75 Years of Thomas”). Free educational STEM and STEAM resources, interactive videos and fun activities such as quizzes, coloring sheets, word searches and Harvey Girls recipes for families and rail-fans alike.
USS Midway Museum
Outdoor areas, including the Flight Deck and Hanger Deck remain open. Online experiences include virtual tours of the Midway’s most popular spaces and exhibits (including audio), kids’ activity sheets, documentary video series, written historical accounts and other educational resources.