International Museum Day

If you live in Cleveland, you probably know that we like to brag about our wonderful museums. From the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to Cleveland Museum of Art to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to Cowan Pottery Museum here at Rocky River Public Library, Cleveland has quite a few museums to explore and celebrate.  

If you’d rather acknowledge International Museum Day by visiting farther flung museums, or you just don’t want to leave your home, check out virtual tour options offered by so many wonderful museums: the Louvre in Paris, the Met in New York, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the National Museum in Rio de Janeirothe National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, and our own Cowan Pottery Museum. More and more museums are putting virtual exhibits on their websites, for anyone in the world to enjoy. 

But maybe you’d rather just read about museums, real or imagined. Fortunately, there’s plenty of options there as well! 


The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser 

Documents the unsolved theft of twelve masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, tracing the research of the late art detective Harold Smith while recounting the author’s own forays into the art underworld. 

Curators: Behind the Scenes of Natural History Museums by Lance Grande 

This beautifully written and richly illustrated book is a clear-eyed but loving account of natural history museums, their curators, and their ever-expanding roles in the twenty-first century. 

Surrounded by Art: Panoramic Views of America’s Landmark Museums by Thomas R. Schiff 

Beautifully composed panoramic photographs that showcase the iconic interiors and exteriors in the great museums and cultural institutions of the United States from a singular visual perspective. 


From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg 

When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would go in comfort – she would live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Alena by Rachel Pastan 

In an inspired restaging of Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, a young curator finds herself haunted by the legacy of her predecessor. 

Imaginary Museums: Stories by Nicolette Polek 

In this collection of compact fictions, Nicolette Polek transports us to a gently unsettling realm inhabited by disheveled landlords, a fugitive bride, a seamstress who forgets what people look like, and two rival falconers from neighboring towns. 


Discover New Resources at the Cowan Pottery Museum

The Cowan Pottery Museum has a new resource Cowan Activities @Home. Go to to find past Crafting with the Curator instructions and inspiration guides, as well as the Cowan Pottery coloring book pages. Make sure to check back as we will be adding more resources in the future!

Also make sure to sign up to participate in our upcoming Crafting with the Curator by going to:

Cowan Pottery Museum Needs Your Help!

The Cowan Pottery Museum wants to hear from you! As the Museum plans its 2021 programming, we seek your feedback on how the Museum can expand its services. What type of programs would you like offered by the Museum? In what new ways can we provide more information about our collection? Please, click here to submit your feedback before December 1.

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

This week we are profiling the online resources of The Henry Ford.

The Henry Ford

Located in Dearborn, Michigan, a short drive from Detroit, this institution boasts a collection of objects from 300 years of American history. The museum was dedicated on October 21, 1929 and opened to the public in 1933. For the first 10 years visitors dealt with construction as the exhibits weren’t fully complete until the early 1940s. You can learn more about the history of the campus here on their History & Mission page.

While the museum and campus are closed, the website features many digital resources.

Their Virtual Visit page is a great place to start your exploration. Here you will find a list of objects with links to the Ford’s Google Maps project from 2015. The photos give you a better sense of scale of these artifacts and allow for 360 degree experience. A great example is the museum’s towering Allegheny Steam Locomotive. There are also links to the object’s record in the Digital Collections.

The Digital Collections can be explored much like the other institutions we have highlighted in these posts. Additionally there are the Expert Sets. These curated groupings are a great resource for educators building lesson plans as well as individuals looking for a more structured way of exploring the vast collection.

For researchers there is the Digital Resources page. There are Research Databases which include oral histories, the library’s catalog, photographs, and historic films.

A really interesting resource is their collection of historic Cookbooks. You can see what the people in the past ate and get some ideas for your own culinary efforts.

The Henry Ford has many education resources on their Online Learning Resources and Activities page. The available programs are arranged by grade level for easy navigation and their Innovation Program is currently free for public.

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

I thought this week I would highlight some of the craft and ceramic research resources across the state and the nation. These are a great place to explore the history of ceramics and see how our museum’s Cowan Pottery collection are part of a long legacy of craft and art.

First off we have The American Craft Council headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. They have put together a resource page for artists and makers. Their library has some great digital resources including an archive of:

  • More than 20,000 books and exhibition catalogues
  • More than 150 current subscriptions and 700 bound volumes of leading periodicals and newsletters
  • More than 3,000 files on individual artists containing unique photographs, slides, correspondence, and other ephemera
  • Council archives (1941 – present), including those of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts/American Craft Museum (1956 – 1990)
  • Archives of the World Crafts Council (1964 – present)
  • Archives of the Craft Students League of New York (1932 – 2005) 

Ohio Craft Museum, located just a few hours drive away, currently has their exhibitions online for people to enjoy. You will find high resolution photos of the objects from the artists and an exhibition catalog. Their Facebook page has interviews with artists who are included in their shows.

Just outside Los Angeles in Pomona, CA we have The American Museum of Ceramic Art. There are a variety of resources here. They have highlights from their permanent collection and their current exhibitions are now virtual. They also offer a resource page with information for artists, parents, and researchers.

The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY is an institution with a Cowan Pottery connection. R. Guy Cowan moved to Syracuse after the studio closed its doors and worked as the chief designer for the Syracuse China Company. Their permanent collection holds works from many Cowan Pottery Studio artists. Many of these acquisitions were from the museum’s long running Ceramic National Exhibition. You can explore their archives, virtual exhibitions, and downloadable activities for kids and families. You can also enjoy lectures from with their Curator of Ceramics Garth Johnson.

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

This week we are featuring the virtual resources of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Founded in 1879 this art museum is one of the nation’s oldest and largest. Their virtual resource page, Visit us Virtually, has a curated collection of what they offer while the building itself is closed. Though all of there resources are available at any time.

Their temporary exhibition El Greco: Ambition and Defiance has a page with ways the viewer can see and experience the work while the museum is closed.

Their Collection Page showcases their impressive holdings, including this famous piece.

American Gothic, Grant Wood, Oil on Beaver Board, 1930- The Art Institute of Chicago-

If you scroll down on each of the object’s individual pages you will see a link to Multimedia, which offers video and audio resources, and Educational Resources, which offers teacher guides about the work.

For parents and educators there is a wealth of resources when creating lesson plans. Their Educator Resource page has packets on select objects that include background on the object, maker information, vocabulary, and history on the time it was made.

Their interactive Journey Maker uses themes to create a custom map of different objects in the museum. A great tool for when you are exploring the museum in person, it is still an engaging way for learners to explore the collection digitally.

You can also check out the Get Creative at Home webpage for creative activity prompts, writing prompts, and even coloring book pages based on some of the most well known pieces in the collection.

Their Youtube Channel features their virtual tours, past recorded lectures, educational videos about objects and artists, and past promotional videos.

Additionally, the museum offers Audio Tours, Interactive Articles, Digital Publications, and a Blog. The Blog features articles about the collection, conservation efforts, artist profiles and dispatches from their staff at home.

In the artcile It Broke: Dispatch from a Homeschooling Conservator, Rachel Sabino writes about how she is using toy repair as an opportunity teach her 5 year old about materials and the day to day of her job.

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

Today we are featuring an institution with a Cowan Pottery connection,

The MFA Boston has a selection of objects produced by the Cowan Pottery Studio, all designed by Viktor Schreckengost.

This includes an edition of the Jazz Bowl in the same style and surface design as the library’s edition.

The museum also has it its collection works by Cowan artist produced after the studio had closed in 1931. This includes:

Edris Eckhardt

Cigarette Jar, Attributed to Edris Eckhardt, 1930 -Cowan Pottery Museum, 1976.1.86.

Wayland Gregory

Margarita, Waylande Desantis Gregory, 1929- Cowan Pottery Museum, 1976.1.393

The collection can be searched just like previously highlighted museums. They offer the ability to sort it by region and time period making the navigation very easy.

The current special exhibition, Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation, has a devoted page to experience the work virtually. There are publications, essays, videos, a playlist, and a slideshow of images.

Additional Resources

The museum is a participant in Google’s Art & Culture Project.

There is a page devoted to videos where you can watch interviews with artists, experience virtual tours of exhibitions, and see conservation efforts.

And the museum has its own YouTube Channel,with a huge library of videos for patrons to enjoy.

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

For this weeks post rather than highlighting the digital resources of one institution I thought I would showcase multiple online exhibitions and content from cultural organizations in our area.

The Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

The Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument is now posting weekly videos on their YouTube channel highlighting different parts of the monument’s history. This series can be used as a supplement to US and Ohio history lessons.

Akron Art Museum

The Akron Art Museum‘s YouTube channel has past artist and curator talks as well as promotional/documentation of past exhibitions and events. They also have a prompt/activity page that uses pieces from their collection.

Artist Archives of the Western Reserve

The Artist Archives of the Western Reserve has their collections as well as as a guided tour of the current exhibition, 2020 Annual Members Exhibition, hosted on their website.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has a dedicated page to all their virtual resources during their closure. These series of videos are a great way to learn not only about prehistoric life but about local Ohio wildlife.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden

The Cleveland Botanical Garden has a dedicated blog for updates on their website. They also feature a page devoted to their online learning resources and tips for individuals looking to get into bird watching.

The Cleveland Metroparks

The Cleveland Metroparks website features not only information on their available outdoor resources but also a Virtual Classroom. This page has information on the new programs created at this time as well has past digital content available.

International Women’s Air & Space Museum

International Women’s Air & Space Museum YouTube channel has history videos as well as interviews from astronauts.

MOCA Cleveland

MOCA Cleveland‘s Facebook Page features videos highlighting the staff of the institution. A great way to learn about all the different jobs within a museum as well as to get to know the people.

The Kent State Museum

The Kent State Museum has its collection online and searchable as well as a blog that shows restoration efforts by the staff. Their Gallery of Costume allows viewers to explore the fashions of the past.

Spaces Gallery

Spaces gallery’s YouTube channel features artist and curator interviews, video based art pieces, and information on current and past exhibitions.

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

We continue are series of digital museum visits with

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Like our own Cleveland Museum of Art, The Met had already an amazing collection of digital resources for individuals who are unable to visit the physical location. The Met has done an amazing job giving their collection and resources a dynamic view that engages the viewer in a multitude of ways. With this resource I wanted to begin with, and emphasize, all the learning and educator resources this institution offers. Again like the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Met breaks down their resources into different categories (age/grade level) making it easy to find just what you are looking for.


For parents and educators #metkids is a great place to start to build lesson plans and create digital museum visits. Also, this resource is designed to be explored by a wide range of grade levels allowing for organic exploration and learning. their Map is a great example of this.


On the map you will see interactive red and yellow dots across the screen. You can zoom in and out of the whole map and left click and drag to move the screen. When you click on these dots a new side screen appears with information about that collection, resource, or object located in the museum.

This page will have buttons on the right hand side with additional resources and information about the object. Not all resources are available for each piece:

  • Watch: Videos about the piece or activities responding to the work
  • Listen: Audio information on the piece.
  • Discover: Detailed information on the inspiration or context of the work along with how it was made.
  • Imagine: A prompt for the viewer on ideas to consider with the work.
  • Create: Description of an activity that uses the piece as inspiration.
  • Even More: Exhibition brochures and handouts.

Time Machine

The Time Machine is a great way to explore the collection if you are studying a particular time period or area of the world. Viewers can mix and match the 3 categories (Time Periods, Geography ,Big Ideas) and then hit the start button. This will bring up objects from the museum’s collection that fit into the parameters you selected. When you click on one of the objects it returns you to the same side screen that is brought up in the Map feature.


If you are looking for just video resources this is the best place to go. Like the previous pages, Video has their resources broken into different categories so you can easily find just what you are looking for.

  • Create: Tutorials on art and creative activities.
  • Q&A: Questions from kids to the museum’s staff, artists, and experts.
  • Made by Kids: Animations produced by participants of their Animation Lab.
  • Celebrate: Documentation of past events at the museum.
  • All: All the Above


As stated on the page their Blog highlights the above resources and when new things have been added along with additional activities.

Digital Resources

This page is a one-stop-shop of all the resources that are currently available for patrons to explore from home. This curated page makes it simple to see all they offer and easily find what they are looking for. Here you will find:

Additionally, this page has links to updates on the Museum’s Closure and their participation in the the Google project Google Arts and Culture. This resource has online exhibitions to virtually explore from home.