7 top museum YouTube channels

It seems that fall has already arrived in Barcelona. Yesterday morning I woke up to the sounds of one of the most furious storms I’ve ever seen! The windows of our flat were rattling with every thunder, and it was pitch-dark until well after 9 o’clock. Days like these make me wanna bury myself under a blanket, equipped with some sweet treats, a couple of books, and my iPad. Therefore, I ended up doing a very comprehensive research of museum YouTube channels, so that you will know, my dear Readers, what to do on gloomy days like yesterday!

This is autumn.


#7 LACMA — Los Angeles County Museum of Art

click here to visit the channel

Among clips focused on the museum’s collection, or supplementing temporary exhibitions, LACMA’s channel features a wonderful series entitled Artists on Art. My heart has been stolen by John Baldessari talking about René Magritte’s emblematic Ceci n’est pas une pipe piece:

#6 Belvedere Museum, Vienna

click here to visit the channel

Belvedere Museum’s YouTube channel is packed with interesting content. There are interviews with artists (ex. Ai Weiwei or Olafur Eliasson), concerts, trailers of temporary exhibitions, and great series of short clips about art history for those who are hard-of-hearing. Check out the first part of a short documentary about Price Eugene’s Winter Palace, narrated by Howard Nightingall, British actor based in Vienna.

#5 Natural History Museum, London

click here to visit the channel

If you (or your kids) lose sleep over some fundamental questions such as “How the moon got its spots?” or “How the Neanderthals got their big noses?”, subscribing the NHM’s YouTube channel is probably a wise thing to do. Speaking of Neanderthals, with a little help of the NHM you can trace your genetic ancestry and find out the truth about how Neanderthal are you:

#4 Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

click here to visit the channel

Although most of the films that can be found on the Rijksmuseum’s YouTube channel are narrated in Dutch, they all have English subtitles. Many of the uploaded clips form a part of the institution’s promotional strategy (ex. Rijksmuseum Welcoming 130 countries, a series of tiny clips showing people from distant parts of the world struggling with the pronunciation of the museum’s name), but there are also wonderful films showing the preparations for temporary exhibitions. My personal favourite is this 10-minute clip from behind the scenes of the acclaimed Catwalk exhibition designed by Erwin Olaf, one of my most beloved contemporary photographers:

#3 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York

click here to visit the channel

I got to know Cooper Hewitt (for now only theoretically) over two years ago when I participated in the We Are Museums conference in Warsaw. One of the best speeches presented at the conference was the one given by Seb Chan, director of digital and emerging media at Cooper Hewitt. He gave us a sneak peek at his work on digitization of the museum’s collection, which can serve as an extension of the permanent exhibition, and gives the possibility to display what cannot be displayed in the museum rooms, for obvious reasons. Cooper Hewitt’s YouTube channel is an ecyclopedia of crafts and design. I grew especially fond of the Design Dictionary series. Let’s take a look:

#2 The National Gallery, London

click here to visit the channel

The National Gallery’s channel is like an Art History coursebook. You can find there recordings of the famous Lunchtime talks (a series of short lectures focused on a particular artwork or set of artworks, held at lunchtime), as well as several occasional series, such as Holiday in a painting, or #PaintedLovers. I really enjoyed the Behind the scenes series, giving an insight into what’s happening backstage in such a huge museum as the National Gallery. Okay, so why don’t we pay a visit to the Framing Department?

#1 The Metropolitan Museum, New York

click here to visit the channel

The Met’s YouTube channel is just like The Met itself: full of everything, it’s a true horn of plenty. A sneak into the conservation department? Check. DIY films? Check. Jeff Koons talking about ancient Roman sculpture? Check. A one-minute presentation of how does an Ancient Peruvian Whistling Vessel work? Check. Seriously, The Met has it all. They create whole thematic series, for example #MetKids, The Artist Project (similar to LACMA’s Artists on Art), MetCollectsMetPublications. Okay, so let’s find out the answer to a question we have all asked ourselves at some point or other: How did they get all this stuff into the Museum?




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