Many organizations are finding new ways to engage with the public during the coronavirus pandemic. Like most places, the Milwaukee Public Museum has remained closed. But a new partnership with Google is allowing people back inside the museum without leaving home.
One of Google Maps’ best-known features is called street view, which allows people to zoom in on a location and see on-the-ground photos. Now you can do the same with some of the museum's exhibits, including "Streets of Old Milwaukee" and "Living Ocean."
Jenni Tetzlaff, Milwaukee Public Museum’s director of integrated marketing, says the partnership between the museum and Google began in 2014. That's when three Google employees came with photographers to capture the museum using 360-degree cameras to create a street view experience of the museum.
The photos are several years old, but that means you can see pieces that are currently in storage. Most notably, the "Hidden Wisconsin" exhibit.
"The 'Hidden Wisconsin' exhibit is really cool because it has a lot of different artifacts, objects, and specimens from all over Wisconsin that we don't usually have out," says Tetzlaff.
Because Milwaukee Public Museum has such a large collection in storage, Tetzlaff says the museum has used this time to go through the collection, making sure each item gets the care it needs.
As the museum plans to reopen, she says it's focused on safety. So, that means the experience may be different the next time you go in person.
"Yes, it may not be the same in terms of tactile experiences, but we will always be a museum where there are objects and specimens and things that you wouldn’t normally be able to see in front of you, for sure," says Tetzlaff.
You can also find a weekly newsletter, videos, quizzes, and other fun digital activities on the Milwaukee Public Museum website.