Love Museums? Push Open Those Digital Doors

Local museums and libraries offer virtual tours right from your crib
By CYNTHIA YANG, Weekendr Staff Writer
Published on Mar 20, 2020

Are you self-quarantining? Squeamish about large groups of people and attending events? It’s natural to be fearful, but far wiser to just be careful. (Go wash your hands. We’ll be right here.)

Meanwhile, there’s an entire online universe for you to explore, with no lines. Maybe some noisy kids, but they’re yours. Meanwhile, every fact ever discovered in the history of the known universe is available to you in that online universe.

Don’t want to turn your weekends into work? Fair enough. But maybe turn your device(s) into every museum you ever wanted to visit?

For example, did you know that 2020 is the 500th anniversary of the death of the great Renaissance master Raphael (April 6, 1483–April 6, 1520)?

Museums around the world—including Pasadena’s Norton Simon—are celebrating his artistic achievement and legacy. In a video on the Museum’s website, Norton Simon Curator Gloria Williams Sander examines his Madonna and Child with Book, c. 1502–3. It’s one of the highlights of the Museum’s early Renaissance galleries,  and the only painting by Raphael in a public collection in the Western U.S. 

There are also audio lectures on the museum’s works. 

Just as an example, there is a fascinating audio interview on Vincent Van Gogh. In this one, produced in conjunction with the loan of Van Gogh’s electrifying Self-Portrait from 1889 from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Chief Curator Carol Togneri interviews Mary Morton, Curator of French Painting, and Ann Hoenigswald, Senior Conservator of Paintings, both from the National Gallery. The artist’s life and talents are discussed in this remarkable interview. 

Or how about a different Van Gogh discussion?

As the museum notes, van Gogh is one of the most famous, if not the most famous artist in the world. It’s well-known that during his lifetime Van Gogh only sold one painting and otherwise remained known only to a small circle of friends.

 In a video lecture, Axel Rüger, Director, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, traces the artist’s short career to remind us of his achievements as a painter and draughtsman, and then describes the artist’s road to fame, the role a female family member played in this, and the museum that deals with the artist’s legacy now.

The video lecture is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Van Gogh’s ‘Bedroom’ on Loan From the Art Institute of Chicago.

By the way, the Norton Simon will be temporarily closing on March 15. You know what to do.

At the Library

Similarly, the Pasadena Public Library offers eBooks, Audiobooks, and music available to download for free. There are all types of formats and all types of categories for the price of a free library card. Let’s peruse, shall we?


OverDrive eBooks & Audiobooks can be downloaded to your computer or an Android or iOS device via the OverDrive app. The library owns a set number of copies of each OverDrive title, so you may have to wait until a copy “returned” in before you can borrow it.

Cloud Library

The Cloud Library is an app that allows you to borrow and read eBooks and eAudiobooks. There’s a fully functional reader allowing the user to read their ebook directly in the app. You can also save your book across several platforms.

It also includes an Audiobook player, so you can easily download, play and listen to books offline.

ENKI Library

enki is a California eBook platform created by librarians where you will find popular local indie fiction and nonfiction genres including romance, mysteries, graphic novels, crafts, encyclopedias, cookbooks, short stories, essays, study guides as well as classic literature with new, original book jacket art.


eBooks, eAudiobooks, streaming movies and TV, music, and digital comics and graphic novels are available anytime, from anywhere. When you go to for the first time, you’ll be asked to create a login from your email and password, choose “Pasadena Public Library” and enter your Pasadena Public Library barcode. You’re in. Push open the digital doors and enjoy.


 Flipster is a digital magazine service so you can read your favorite magazines on your computer or mobile device. You can download magazines to  Apple® iphones and iPads, Android™ phones and tablets, and Kindle Fire tablets for offline reading wherever, whenever.

 The library’s Questions & Help page can also help you explore. So, wash your hands, make yourself comfortable, order something from a local restaurant, and let’s all get through this.

One Comment to: Love Museums? Push Open Those Digital Doors

  1. Art Lover

    March 28th, 2020

    Thanks for this–some new ideas for the housebound!


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