Links to Harvard Cultural Resources:  Art Museums Virtual Tour

Arranged and compiled by Ellen Messer

Dear Radcliffe and Harvard ’70 Classmates,

This page is an invitation to explore the Harvard Art Museums from the comfort and distance of home. Touring the “new” Harvard Art Museums would have been one of the delights of self-scheduled time during our 50th Reunion Week.  The outstanding architecture, bright spaces for viewing ancient to modern masterpieces from all over the world, and opportunity to see the Museums’ main collections of European, German, and Asian art, now integrated into one place, this year will have to be experienced virtually.  But take advantage of the activities highlighted below to savor both the permanent and special exhibits, including guided tours by expert museum faculty and staff and passionate student guides, who regularly design and lead tours that will pique your curiosity and increase your understanding of the arts and their connections with history, literature, society and the sciences.

Please stay tuned!  Next we will feature virtual tours of Harvard’s Science and Culture Museums, with highlights for joining this year’s virtual solstice celebrations.

Harvard Art Museums Overall

For information on all Harvard's many art museums, see the museum home page at new window

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection

A very special and extensive exhibit on Japanese artwork is currently mounted, through July 26.  Read about it here:  Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collectionnew window  Below are a number of different perspectives on this wide-reanging comprehensive exhibition.

Art Talk: Painting Edo

Discover early modern Japanese painting with curator Rachel Saunders, who introduces us here new window to the largest exhibition ever presented at the Harvard Art Museums, Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, selected from the unparalleled collection of Robert and Betsy Feinberg.

Behind the Scenes

As the largest exhibition ever mounted at the Harvard Art Museums, Painting Edo posed an invigorating array of challenges and opportunities.  In this video new window, co-curators Rachel Saunders, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Curator of Asian Art, and Yukio Lippit, the Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of History of Art and Architecture, speak with assistant director for exhibitions Elie Glyn, providing insight into the curatorial approach, design features, and installation decisions that went into the exhibition.

Google Arts & Culture

We are thrilled that you will be among the very first to see a new online iteration of Painting Edo new window, presented through Google Arts & Culture. Browse the galleries virtually, examine highlighted works in detail, and learn about the incredible diversity of early modern Japanese painting and how it continues to influence our vision today.

Art Talk: Painting Edo and the Transcendence of Laughter

Take a tour new window with graduate student intern Leah Justin-Jinich, as she guides us into the world of Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection to discover a unique set of Zen paintings and to see how puppies, bamboo, and laughter can lead to enlightenment.

Tours by Student Guides

Here are videos providing unique, thematic tours of the museums given by the Ho Family Student Guides.

Student Guide Mahnoor Ali speaks new window about the moment that painter Sanford Robinson Gifford arrived in Istanbul and how it inspired the work Leander’s Tower on the Bosporus.

Student Guide Richard Dunn discusses new window the scandalous implication within Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ Raphael and the Fornarina.

Here, senior Spencer Glesby discusses new window Gustav Klimt’s Pear Tree.  Glesby’s tour, titled The Artist’s Mark, focuses on the function and meaning of the mark throughout art history.

About the Move to On-Line Learning and Resources

The Art Museums’ Department of Academic and Public Programming is supporting faculty as they make the pivot to online learning. DAPP colleagues Jen Thum, Frances Gallart Marques, and Inês Torres took on the teaching responsibilities for the Divinity School seminar Mothers, Diviners, and Prophets: The Religious Lives of Women in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel. Frances spoke about figurines, Inês about ushabtis and their magical inscriptions, and Jen about our Egyptian magical stela and Mesopotamian magical bowl. The group used screen sharing in Zoom with a combination of PowerPoint presentations, high-resolution images for close looking, and even a special 3D model of the magical bowl new window to enhance their online learning experience.

Read more about how faculty are adapting their art-related courses to online teaching in this article new window from the Harvard Gazette.

Engaging with the Harvard Art Museums at Home

Curators and staff have provided us with some additional guides to readings and viewings:

Staff Picks: What Art Enthusiasts Can Read, Watch, and Listen To While at Home new window   Harvard Art Museums staff share their favorite art-related books, podcasts, and small-screen picks.

Staff Picks: What Art Enthusiasts Can Read, Watch, and Listen to While at Home (Part 2) new window

Staff Picks: What Art Enthusiasts Can Read, Watch, and Listen to While at Home (Part 3) new window

For all who are assisting in at-home educational activities, the museum has also provided this really neat illustrated coloring book on ancient Egyptian art -- an intriguing set of items that will engage kids of all ages!  Introduce children to the wonders of the ancient world with this engaging coloring and activity book.  Coloring Ancient Egypt: An Activity Book for Kids of All Agesnew window

These are just a few selections; you can find more, and regularly updated opportunities to participate in virtual activities are on the Harvard Art Museums from Home new window web page.

Send questions or comments to us at