Take a virtual tour of the latest D.C. museum art exhibits right from your desktop or mobile device.

The District and many neighboring states have stay-at-home orders in effect. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the latest art exhibits and new attractions, however. Virtual art-gazing has come to your service.

The Hirshhorn Museum, the National Gallery, and other Smithsonian art museums have started virtual viewings through social media sites like Instagram and YouTube. And you don’t even have to get off the sofa or put on pants.

Hirshhorn Museum

The highly anticipated Yayoi Kusama exhibit, “One with Eternity,” was supposed to open in March at the Hirshhorn Museum. It is a follow-up to her popular “Infinity Mirrors” series, but it has been postponed indefinitely, so you may still get a chance to see it in person. This collection includes one of her earliest pieces Phalli’s Field (which is now in the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection).

To see “Infinity Mirrors,” which will eventually open at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, check out The Broad’s Instagram TV channel.

National Gallery of Art


Today’s tour takes us to gallery 60B on the Main Floor of the West Building. Here, the focus is on the work of John Singleton Copley, one of America’s most important colonial painters. The centerpiece of the room is “Watson and the Shark” (1778), a painting which made Copley famous (and rich) during his lifetime. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Looking at the painting, the outcome of the flailing body in the water is uncertain—will the shark attack him? Or will the harpooner spear the shark? The history of the work reveals what happened: Brook Watson (the figure in the water) probably commissioned the painting, after he became a successful businessman and politician later in life. He bequeathed the painting to Christ's Hospital, a London school for disadvantaged youth, where it hung in the dining hall as a harrowing inspiration that you could achieve success, even if a shark bit off your leg. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Check out our Instagram story to learn more about Copley and the subjects of his portraits and follow along each day during our temporary closure as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery. #MuseumFromHome #MyNGADC

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Visit the National Gallery of Art on Instagram for close-ups, descriptions, and curator comments on paintings by John Singer Sargent, Raphael, Georgia O’Keefe, Sir Edwin Landseer, Van Gogh, and many more. “Tours” are led by associate curators.

National Museum of African Art

The National Museum of African Art has several online exhibitions on collections such as contemporary women artists, water in African art, and heroes.

National Portrait Gallery



Our #portraitoftheday is Queen Elizabeth II, with her corgi Spark. 🐶⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Commissioned to celebrate Her Majesty's sixtieth birthday, artist Michael Leonard said that he 'wanted to give the viewer a feeling of having a conversation with the queen' in this vivid and cheerful portrait. The setting is the Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, and the corgi's 'red-gold coat became the colour key' for a portrait in a variation of golds.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Queen Elizabeth II grew up surrounded by corgis. Originally used for droving cattle, Pembrokshire corgis are an ancient Welsh breed and are slightly smaller and - partly due to their royal patronage - better known than Cardigan Welsh corgis. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #NationalPetMonth #NationalPortraitGallery #portraiture #pawtraits

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The National Portrait Gallery has been updating their Instagram channel with portraits and personalities from their walls. They’re currently doing a fun series on National Pet Month that features royalty, athletes, celebrities, and other notables posing with their pets. Check out the Instagram “take-over” by prominent photographers like Mary McCartney.

The Phillips    


Today, one week into #DeafHistoryMonth, we feature #JacobLawrence's epic: The Migration Series. More than 75 years ago, a young artist named Jacob Lawrence set to work on an ambitious 60-panel series portraying the Great Migration, the flight of over a million African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North following the outbreak of World War I. Lawrence found a way to tell his own story through the power and vibrancy of the painted image, weaving together 60 same-sized panels into one grand epic statement. The poetry of his work emerges from its staccato-like rhythms and repetitive symbols. “To me, migration means movement. There was conflict and struggle. But out of the struggle came a kind of power and even beauty.” #SigningthePhillips, produced in partnership with @gallaudetu graduates @jamileehoglind and @eriksonyoung, is a vlog series inspired by the @whitneymuseum's "The Vlog Project" with @chrisunkim & @bigdanielle. Through this initial series of 5 ASL vlogs, The Phillips Collection aims to increase accessibility to some of the defining works in our collection.

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Part of Black Artists and European Modernists, the “Riffs and Relations” exhibit opened two weeks before the Phillips shut down. It explores the relation between black visual artists and white European modernists in the 20th and 21st centuries. Check out the Phillips YouTube video series for a tour of the exhibit as well as stories about the key artists. One of the museum’s permanent collections, Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series,” can also be seen.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

“Hearts of our People” opened at the Native Women Artists at SAAM in February and was scheduled to close in May and move on to its next tour stop. Currently, no details are known about its next stop. You can still take a virtual tour of the exhibit or view the SAAM’s Instagram channel for even more American art, textiles, and sculpture.

Have you visited any of these online art exhibitions? Let us know in the comments.