Museums and zoos create new ways for the public to enjoy animal and art exhibits

Photo by Andrew Chan

The Smithsonian National Zoo has live cameras for several animal exhibits ( Pictured here is a screenshot of the adorable baby panda Xiao Qi Ji sleeping on the stream.

By Andrew Chan, Editor-in-Chief

Multitudes of timeless paintings, rare animals and priceless gems have all gone untouched and unseen by the average person for months. No, they have not been hidden away or kidnapped, they have been closed down to the general public. Like many other things during quarantine, the cultural hubs of America have been shut down. However, many museums and zoos are adapting to “reopen,” allowing visitors to virtually view everything inside. 

Smithsonian National Zoo Cams

From the newest panda cub Xiao Qi Ji (Little Miracle) to naked mole rats, the Smithsonian Zoo offers a chance to see exciting animals close up. With 24/7 live cameras inside the zoo’s exhibits, many animals are still visible to the public. The zoo has cameras set up in the resting areas of the giant panda, cheetah and naked mole rats. They also have cameras that show the entire exhibits of the lions and elephants. Each camera provides an intimate look at the animals and their hidden behaviors.

Though the animals are not always on the cameras, every moment they are on camera is special. The Smithsonian site makes sure there is a lot of animal content available. Previously frequent visitors of the zoo can still see some of their favorite animals and keep up with their daily activities. 

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum 

Many are familiar with O’Keeffe’s renowned animal skull paintings, but not many know the inspirations and models for each of these art pieces. The museum is currently providing an online tour that covers O’Keeffe’s famous animal paintings as well as an in-depth analysis on the real animal skull inspirations behind them. On the website for the museum, there is a 45 minute virtual tour. The tour guide is Victoria Managle, a fellow at the museum and a Ph.D. student of Zooarchaeology at the University of New Mexico. 

Managle is very well-spoken and gives excellent analysis and information regarding O’Keeffe’s paintings. In addition to this, Managle gives a timeline of O’Keeffe’s paintings and life, tying in the animal paintings and their real-life counterparts. The tour is equal parts history, art and science, making it a well-rounded experience. It is an interesting tour and one that absolutely needs to be checked out. 

Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Though currently closed to the public, the SAM is still working behind the scenes to obtain new, exciting pieces for the museum. They are updating their site with all their recent acquisitions. Each new piece has a photo and a little description regarding the background of the piece. Though seeing a piece online is not nearly the same as visiting the museum in person, it is still an excellent experience. It is a great way for art enthusiasts to get a sneak peak of what the SAM will have to offer when it reopens. 

One of the more unique artworks that SAM has acquired is “Pissed Off,” a series of photographs that show famous Los Angeles modern artist David Hammons relieving himself on a Richard Serra sculpture. The site continues to showcase new pieces, so art enthusiasts should make an effort to keep themselves updated!

These museums are attempting to adapt to the strange quarantine; their main goal is keeping the public interested in the arts, engaging us and giving us a little glimpse of beauty during dark times. Every exhibit, animal and photograph is available online and is a great alternative for those who miss the arts.