7 virtual art experiences in the Midwest to bring creativity and wonder to virtual classrooms.

Museums and online programs have stepped up to support art education that deepens the understanding and appreciation of visual arts in the Midwestern region. These programs not only allow access to most, if not all, of the museum’s collections and exhibitions but provide fun and hands-on learning tools and activities that will build a connection to artistic skills and techniques. These eight programs will help your students and children become an active participant with their learning and encourage observation, critical thinking and, of course, creativity. 


The Akron Art Museum has created Akron Art at Home Museum from virtual visits, unique online exhibits and interactive learning and discovering in different ways. Their website features artists and authors talking to museum staff about their process with creating art and written pieces. Your students will get to hear about individual creative processes from these local artists and authors that may spark creativity in the classroom. The option to listen to the museums podcasts on different art techniques can be useful when introducing new styles and artists to your students. The Studio Hours experience is a great way to get your students to be interactive with their creative learning. Projects include art on technology, art projects with limited supplies and fun projects that will entertain and encourage creative thinking and skills. The museum includes printable games like word-searches and chess, along with trivia, ARTstrology posts and advice from an online oracle. The Akron Art at Home Museum is a great way to include interactive learning and to explore the possibilities of art while at home. 

Credit: Akron Museum of Art

Credit: Akron Museum of Art


The Saint Louis Art Museum offers live virtual field trips with museum educators, creating a space for your students to learn, interact and become a part of the conversation while viewing and connecting with the museum’s collections. Tours can be based on themes teachers are introducing in the classroom and modified for grade levels. The museum has created grade-appropriate student programs that teachers can implement in their curriculum that will have students engaged, thinking and actively participating with hands-on activities while viewing the museum’s collections that are targeted to match and help with teacher’s lesson plans. Resources for teachers are available and include weekend and evening workshops that will promote gallery discussions, interactive activities and tools to help teachers incorporate visual arts in their curriculums. These programs are a great way to get students involved in their art education, while promoting help and resources with teachers’ lesson plans. 


The Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis offers “Eiteljorg at Home,” where students can explore the exhibits with Juniper (the museum’s horse tour guide) and participate in fun challenges and games along the way. Museum curator’s have compiled collections and works of art from their Native American, Western and Contemporary galleries that will paint a picture in your student’s minds of different time periods and the work that has come out of them. Learn and create with videos made to demonstrate and explain artifacts and items seen at the museum. Crafts and projects have step-by-step guides to help your students create a fun and educational piece of art work they can add to their own art galleries at home. 

Credit: Eiteljorg Museum

Credit: Eiteljorg Museum


The Minneapolis Institute of Art offers programs that will encourage critical thinking and interaction with their collection. They host Art School, which is led by a museum educator who will introduce art from the museum’s collection while guiding a group activity and educating the class about technique and skills seen in the work. Programs are divided to match grade levels and can be found on different days of the week on the museum’s YouTube channel. Students will be able experience new and past exhibitions while exploring the museum online. They offer online activities for students to participate in their learning like scavenger hunts of the museum’s online collection they can do from home, worksheets that focus on the understanding of art technique and styles, virtual art studio opportunities lead by how-to videos and art kits that will supply materials to make art projects at home with online instruction. Families and virtual classrooms have the opportunity to have hands-on experiences at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, with the museum’s collections and various activities to help support art education. 


The Art Institute of Chicago provides resources for students and teachers to incorporate famous artwork and virtual lead projects to assist in lesson plans and promote a positive and interactive learning experience for students. Students can virtually explore the exhibits and discover artwork and artists through virtual tours, readings from reflections and museum documents, behind-the-scenes footage of galleries and video and audio tours exploring fan favorite exhibits. Students will get a good idea of the mapping of the museum and the artwork that lines the wall all while exploring from home. Teachers can use the museum’s lesson plan resources, which include high-quality images and information about artwork and artists, research tools and documents and publications related to the collections within the museum. Students have the option to participate in crafts and projects like coloring pages, art projects, crossword puzzles, creative writing prompts and more that can make learning about art and artists even more engaging. 

Credit: Art Institute of Chicago

Credit: Art Institute of Chicago


The University of Michigan Museum of Art offers a variety of virtual experiences that will help your students explore the museum. With activities and discussion guides, teachers have the opportunity to provide conversations and examples that will facilitate art education in a virtual classroom. Teachers can work with museum educators to help incorporate the museum art into curriculum and assignments. With virtual tours, audio tours and video demonstration programs, students and families will get a chance to see exhibits and learn about them from museum staff. Guided art projects are a great way to become interactive with the skills and knowledge students are learning, and the museum has put together a variety of tutorials with supplies that can most likely be found around the house. 


The Chazen Museum of Art provides an excellent resource for teachers that will help create a module by pairing the museum’s collection with your lesson plans and learning objectives. Course modules can be tailored to fit with the structure of your classroom. These modules, “The Art of Sustainability,” “Resilience and Surviving Trauma” and “Activism Through Art,” will facilitate discussions and provide artwork and images along with descriptions and context relating to the work. The museum promotes family learning with their “Family Friday Online,” which is a program that allows you to learn new skills from the permanent online collection with a downloadable project your family can work on together. The museum also features artist-led talks where the artists can talk about their work and the process they took to create them along with answering questions from the audience. The Chazen Museum of Art has an online permanent collection containing 23,000 pieces of artwork that is free to view. The museum’s opportunities to discover art allows for the creative engagement of students and the tools and resources for teachers to provide those engagements for their students.