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Explore Ohio: 32 Virtual Experiences

Even if you can’t visit in person, you can still learn, explore and have fun thanks to these online offerings created by cultural institutions across the Buckeye State. 

Whether you’re looking to get your fix of beautiful orchestra music or walk the halls of Akron’s Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, learn about the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage at the Ohio History Connection or check out some of the legendary aircraft that have defended and protected our country in Dayton, this lineup of fun and interesting virtual experiences offer the chance to explore the Buckeye State from the comfort of your home. 

NORTHEAST

Cleveland Orchestra: Classical music lovers can still get their fix of beautiful music — only it’ll be in the comfort of your home, courtesy of the Cleveland Orchestra. The ensemble invites you to connect with them in a variety of ways through “@ Home with The Cleveland Orchestra,” a series of programs on the group’s website. Start your mornings off with some meditation during “Mindful Music Moments” and watch musicians perform from their respective living rooms. Other content includes “On a Personal Note,” a weekly podcast in which musicians and conductors share stories about their experiences with music; and select concerts that have been broadcast on public radio. There are also a multitude of videos on YouTube for avid music fans, including 2015’s “Violins of Hope” concert. Go + Go

Jewish Community Center of Youngstown Virtual TourJewish Community Center of Youngstown: Art aficionados won’t want to miss “Near and Distant Shores,” a video art exhibition hosted by the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown. The magnificent paintings in soothing hues of blue created by Los Angeles mixed-media artist Krista Machovina express her love of the water. The artist takes viewers on a tour of her studio and shares her story about what the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have meant to her family through generations. Go

Cleveland Museum of Art: Fine art is just a keystroke away. The Cleveland Museum of Art’s current exhibitions can be viewed online, including “Tiffany in Bloom: Stained Glass Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany,” “A Graphic Revolution: Prints and Drawings in Latin America” and “Ilse Bing: Queen of the Leica.” Hosted by museum curators, the tours offer insight into artists’ contributions. Go

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens Virtual Tour
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens: The opulent manor house at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. co-founder F.A. Seiberling in 1915, has become a premier tourist attraction. The virtual tour on the estate’s website showcases 65 rooms, including the master bedroom and bathrooms, Great Hall and Music Room. Viewers can zoom in and out on objects and rotate the screen to view different perspectives. Go

William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum: Containing the largest collections of artifacts related to our 25th President and serving as his final resting place, the library and museum also preserves pieces of Canton’s storied history by showcasing them in a series of YouTube videos, including “Mercy Hospital A Gift of Charity…” and “A Walk with the President.” The “Music in the White House” series showcases the performers who have taken center stage there over the decades. Go

Canton Museum of Art Museum to Go
Canton Museum of Art: The Canton Museum of Art offers videos and activities for every age and interest. In “Curator’s Couch,” staff members interview artists whose work is featured in the museum’s gallery and discuss their struggles and goals. “Museum To Go: Take Out” highlights art in the museum’s permanent collection with corresponding projects you can do at home, including drawing and clay sculpture. Breathe deeply and participate in “Art for Health and Healing,” offering meditation and relaxing art projects that create calmness. Go

Historic Zoar Village Virtual Tour
Zoar Village: History buffs can virtually explore the 29 historic structures comprising the northeast Ohio village of Zoar, which was founded by German Separatists in 1817 and thrived as a unique society for more than 80 years. The tour includes a map pinpointing the exact location and name of each building, a photo and information about its history. Focal points include a hotel, meeting house, school and historic homes. Go

Amish Country: A premier destination year-round, Ohio’s Amish Country offers a whirlwind video tour online, featuring 30 must-see stops, including Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery, Heini’s Cheese Factory, Coblentz Chocolates, Breitenbach Wine Cellars, Ohio Star Theater and Historic Roscoe Village. Go

CENTRAL

Franklin Park Conservatory: Become a world traveler without leaving home. Franklin Park Conservatory takes viewers on a grand tour of the stunning Columbus landmark, which includes stops at the bonsai trees in the courtyard, visits to the Pacific Island Water Garden and Himalayan Mountain biome and a close look at the iconic glass wonders of artist Dale Chihuly that fill the conservatory. Web visitors can also take a virtual class in seed germination, solve a digital puzzle and learn gardening tips from staff experts that are guaranteed to make your own greenspace grow. Go

Columbus Museum of Art: Expand your knowledge of the artists who colored our world by strolling through the online “Walk with Art” section on the museum’s website, which showcases renowned American, European and folk art and photography. Along the way, listen in on conversations with folk artist Aminah Robinson, figurative painter George Tooker and Pizzuti Collection curators Ron and Ann Pizzuti. Go

COSI Connects
COSI: The Columbus science center makes learning fun with a variety of virtual activities for all ages. In “COSI Connects,” staffers lead video discussions and classes, ranging from how to make a book; and create a cuica, a musical instrument popular in Brazil; to exploring why wind-up toys work, how meteors form and ways genetics affects our lives. Go + Go

Ohio History Connection: Ohio’s past and present are at your fingertips on the Ohio History Connection website. Videos explore an eclectic array of topics, ranging from “Historic Cemeteries and Gravestones” and “100 Years of Women’s Suffrage” to “Flesh-Eating Beetles” and “From the Vault: Velma West,” one of our state’s most notorious murderers. Activities include coloring pages and instructions for Victorian-era parlor games and calisthenics, while “The DIY Preservation Guide” features recipes for 19th-century libations. Go

The Works At Home Kits
The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology: Kids can camp from home thanks to The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology in Newark. The center is offering “The Works @ Home” kits featuring activities in history, art and STEM geared to children ages 3 to 14. Each kit comes with a week’s worth of guided camp activities to complete indoors and out. Explore engineering with the “Little STEM Explorer’s” kit, capture the perfect shot with “The Art of Photography” and discover molecular motion with the “Everyday Chemistry” (Registration and fee required.) Go

Decorative Arts Center of Ohio: Celebrate the art of Barbara Shermund, a trailblazer in the male-dominated space of cartooning at The New Yorker in 1925. Gifted from an early age, with her first published work at the age of 10, she would go on to illustrate nine covers and hundreds of cartoons in The New Yorker, eventually migrating to Esquire. The exhibit “Tell Me a Story Where the Bad Girl Wins: The Life & Art of Barbara Shermund” can be viewed on the center’s YouTube page. Go

NORTHWEST

Cedar Point Word SearchesCedar Point: If you can’t make it in person to Cedar Point this summer, you can still get your share of heart-stopping thrills. The Sandusky amusement park’s website contains links to YouTube POV videos of the coasters it’s known for. The site also features fun, family-friendly suggestions and activities, including designing your own amusement park from LEGO blocks and cardboard, and completing coloring pages and challenging word searches themed around Cedar Point rides. Go

Mazza Museum Virtual ExperienceMazza Museum: Renowned for having the most diverse collection of original artwork by children’s book illustrators in the world, the Mazza Museum at the University of Findlay invites families to settle in for “Storytime,” a playlist of more than 30 kid-friendly adorable stories from the museum’s collection read by staff members. Viewers can explore and read about the museum’s works in the virtual art gallery and participate in Zoom webinars Mondays at 11:30 a.m., when artists and illustrators discuss their work and answer questions. Held July 20 through 24, the Young Artist Workshop (a paid activity with registration required) features daily projects using different techniques and media designed to help children learn about the world of the picture book. Go

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums 3D ExperienceRutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums: Each year, more than 35,000 visitors tour Spiegel Grove, the former home of our 19th President Rutherford B. Hayes, his wife Lucy and their family. The museum’s education coordinator Joan Eardly welcomes visitors to her virtual tour of the Fremont museum. A 3D scavenger hunt, created by the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau, invites kids of all ages to be on the hunt for artifacts displayed in the museum, including Abraham Lincoln’s slippers and President Hayes’ Civil War Union jacket. Go + Go + Go

Imagination Station Summer CampsImagination Station: Budding scientists ages 6 to 13 are invited to put on their thinking caps and participate in Virtual Summer Camps taking place throughout the summer at the Toledo science museum. Campers will explore the engine design process as they solve challenges in transportation on earth and in space and interact virtually with each other and Imagination Station counselors before working on projects offline. (Registration fee is required.) Go


SOUTHEAST

Southeast Ohio History Center: Southeast Ohio’s rich heritage in arts and industry is captured in “Tales of Southeastern Ohio,” a series of videos the history center has produced. Topics include “Coal in the Hocking Valley;” “The Moonville Tunnel” ghosts and legends; and the star-studded history of Stuart’s Opera House, which dates back to 1879. The 150th anniversary of the Hocking Valley Railroad is also commemorated. Go

Zanesville Museum of Art: The staff at Zanesville Museum of Art introduces you to their world of masterpieces in ways everyone will enjoy. Join executive director Laine Snyder for “Did You Know?” a video series exploring topics including paintings and stained glass works that are part of the collection. Docents invite visitors to spend a “Minute with a Masterpiece” as they share stories behind famous works of art. On “Sunday Storytime” videos, staff members read art-inspired tales, ranging from Katie and the Waterlily Pond: Make Art an Adventure!  by James Mayhew, the tale of a young girl’s visit to the world of Claude Monet, to My Name is Georgia about acclaimed artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Budding artists will want to watch “Material Exploration” videos where the museum’s education coordinator Misty Johnson offers instruction in hands-on family-fun projects including painting with washable markers, using leaves from your backyard to create works of art and crafting a collage with scraps of fabric. Go

Southern Ohio Museum: The Portsmouth museum is known for its unbridled collection of prehistoric Native American artifacts, assembled by father-and-son-team Charles and William Wertz over two generations. Museum educator Emily Uldrich takes viewers on a guided tour of the priceless collection, which dates back 10,000 years. Go

Scioto Historical Virtual Experience
Scioto Historical: Learn about southern Ohio’s rich history, architecture and artwork at a social distance. Scioto Historical’s website features more than 90 stories about the people and events that have shaped Scioto, Adams, Pike and Lawrence counties. The site features a variety of virtual tours, complete with historical background, photographs and plotted maps. Go

Hopewell National Park Armchair Archeology
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park: Experience the beauty of nature from your desktop on the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park’s website. Long before adventurous travelers from Europe made their way to explore the North American continent, indigenous people had already shaped the land to their liking. Over a span of about five centuries, the people of the Hopewell culture thrived in the now-Ohio Valley as they traveled the continent and constructed mounds and works of earth to honor their own and establish places for gathering. Along with a gallery of photographs, the website explores the Chillicothe park’s animals, plants, history and culture. “Armchair Archeology” videos explain the research and science behind the park’s features. Kids can participate in the Junior Ranger program from afar by checking out the digitized history and nature activities. Go + Go

Underground Railroad Museum Virtual Storytime
The Underground Railroad Museum: Delve into the American history that fills this Belmont County museum by listening and watching staff members read stories on Facebook that include Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine; Fredrick Douglas, a photo illustrated biography, by Margo McLoon; and Children of the Emancipation by Wilma King. Viewers are also invited to experience a virtual tour of the museum with director Kristina Estle, which includes exploration of treasured items from the museum’s collection. Go

Kennedy Museum of Art Virtual Exhibition
Kennedy Museum of Art: Art is just as easy to create and it is to view, with a little help from the Kennedy Museum of Art at Ohio University. The easy-to-navigate website offers virtual exhibitions including “Janus: There’s More to What You See,” which challenges our perceptions in understanding our surroundings; as well as virtual tours of exhibits inside the museum, including “Picture the World: Burhan as Photographer” and “Collaborative Cyanotypes!” Posted each month, “Family Art Encounters” suggest crafts and ways for families to interact with art outdoors. Go


SOUTHWEST

Cincinnati Museum Center: From newsreels documenting moments in history to science experiments to meeting the animals who reside there, the Cincinnati Museum Center has something for everyone in its “Learning from Home” online series of videos and photographs. In “Wonder Zone,” viewers meet Shelly, an eastern box turtle who has lived at the center since 1990 after her cracked shell was replaced with a prosthetic one; learn how to make chocolate plastic and slime and build easy LEGO creations. “Newsreel” showcases archival footage including “The Spirit of ’43,” a Donald Duck cartoon supporting America’s effort in World War II; and scenes from the controversial 1919 World Series featuring the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox. Viewers can also tour “Lincoln Originals at the Cincinnati Museum Center,” an exhibit featuring documents commemorating the life and career of our 16th president, and watch a free screening of the film “America’s Musical Journey,” celebrating our nation’s heritage. Go

Freedom Center Online Exhibit
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: Featuring inspiring stories of African American people from history, four online exhibits provide insight into the lives of those who helped create racial equality and freedom in the United States. “My Dear Wife, I Love You” describes the experiences of Cincinnati native and World War II Air Force veteran Charles Lewis. “Rachel at Longwood” chronicles the life of Rachel Young and her brother Jack, who were slaves to a wealthy Kentucky family during the Civil War. The center also honors Queen City men and women who served in World War I with “Cincinnati Soldiers.” The poignant “A Slave Pen Journey” details the inhumane conditions people were subjected to during the slave trade. Go

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden: Visit with the zoo’s favorite residents by watching the “Home Safari” video series, featuring friendly encounters with gorillas, a red panda, Burmese mountain tortoise, alpacas, llamas and a parrot. Animal lovers can help gorilla Samantha celebrate her 50th birthday and watch hippos enjoy watermelon treats. Instructions for make-at-home projects, including crafting a wallaby pouch and animal card games, as well as coloring pages, accompany many of the videos. On Tuesdays and Thursdays a 3 p.m., zoo staff members present a Facebook live chat, which will also be screened on YouTube. Go

NMUSAF Virtual Tour
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force: Featuring aircraft from World War II, the Korean War, missiles, presidential airplanes and spacecraft, aviation aficionados will be fascinated by the Dayton museum’s 360-degree virtual tour. Informational videos accompany each exhibit featured, offering insight into the craft’s history. Cockpit images, as well as YouTube videos providing information about aircraft and interviews with veterans, are also featured. Go

Dayton Art Institute PNC Tiny Thursdays
Dayton Art Institute: Dayton Art Institute’s interactive programs are available online for artists of all ages. Dabblers in drawing are given the chance to replicate some of the museum’s array of artwork in “Artventures at Home.” “PNC Tiny Thursdays,” which include a read-aloud story and an art project complementing a piece at the museum, are designed for budding finger painters and their parents. Both programs include a downloadable lesson with instructions. Go

American Sign Museum: Learn about more than a century of signage on the American Sign Museum’s website and YouTube channel. The Cincinnati museum’s dedication to the art and history of signs shines through with neon lights and glittering letters throughout eight video tours, each exploring a unique feature of the museum. The weekly video series “Tod Talks” takes viewers even more in-depth as museum founder Tod Swormstedt explains the artistry and stories behind varied exhibits. If you’d like your virtual tour to be more self-guided, you can peruse the museum’s vast collection of signs, from drive-ins to gas stations and other artifacts on the website. Go + Go

Springfield Art Institute Virtual Exhibition
Springfield Museum of Art: The Springfield Museum of Art shares its treasured collection with viewers in a variety of ways. An online gallery includes photos of works from six current exhibitions and several past exhibitions dating back to 2001. In May, the museum implemented a virtual exhibit by sixth-graders at Reid School, “This Land is Your Land,” featuring self-portraits, poems and multi-media art inspired by Woodie Guthrie’s ode to our country. “The Liyana Project” explores connections between film, narrative and art inspired by the documentary, Liyana. Go

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