Virtual Vacation: 7 Museums to Experience LGBTQ Art From Home

by Jill Gleeson

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday March 31, 2020

As the nation heads into another week of isolation, it's getting more challenging to find the continuing appeal in organizing closets, working on abs or binging on your favorite films and TV shows (Check out EDGE's 'quaranstreaming' shortlist). Luckily, some of the world's most significant cultural institutions are virtually opening their shuttered doors, letting all inside for a peek at art by and for the LGBTQ community.

Google Arts and Culture
Nothing puts so much world-class art at your fingertips the way Google Arts and Culture does. Offering works from more than 1,200 international institutions, the platform enables visitors to search by subject so that you can pull up queer-related exhibits. Thanks to Google Street View, you're also able to wander through great repositories of art, like Amsterdam's incredible Rijksmuseum, as if you are there. Enter "LGBTQ" in the search field and you'll discover archives from New York City's LGBTQ Center, "Pride of Place: Queer Women of England," The Stonewall Inn and more.

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art
With roots going back more than three decades, this New York-based institution boasts a collection 30,000 strong. It includes works from biggies like Warhol, as well as lesser-known artists whose arousing, heart-breaking, raucous, defiant, hilarious and gorgeous images shine through even on a computer screen. Search for your favorite artist or hit the "random" key to browse.


The British Museum
London's massive British Museum boasts eight million objects, with half of that cataloged online. Virtual tours are available of Prints and Drawings and other subjects, but you might want to head straight to the "Desire, love, identity: LGBTQ histories" trail. A look at the queer community through the ages, it includes 15 objects, from a Maori treasure box to an Athenian wine amphora.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The largest art museum in the western United States, LACMA has long championed the work of gay artists ranging from Tom of Finland to Robert Mapplethorpe and David Hockney. Since the shutdown, LACMA's staff has redesigned its home page to serve as a portal to even more material, including films, exhibition walkthroughs, lectures, and much more. The "Browse" button allows access to images from the museum's collection, including plenty of pieces from Mapplethorpe and Hockney.


Victoria and Albert Museum
Home to more than 2.3 million objects, this London art and design museum features staff dedicated to exploring queer identity, gender and sexuality through its collections. The LGBTQ Working Group has helped identify and analyze art relevant to the queer community, sharing their discoveries on the blog "Out in the Museum." For anyone who wants to head right to the images hit up the search engine and enter "LGBTQ," which will bring up dozens of relevant pages.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Like the brick and mortar museum itself, the virtual version of the Met is jaw-dropping in its options. Online goodies include videos exploring the Met through spherical 360-degree technology, and, of course, lots and lots of art. Hundreds of thousands of images are available to ogle on the Met site. However, there is no way to search specifically for the museum's LGBTQ-centric pieces, like Toulouse-Lautrec's "The Sofa," which depicts a lesbian couple reclining on a divan. Or check out senior library associate Patrick J. Raftery Jr.'s extensive blog post, "Queering the Catalogue: A Look at Queer, Gay, and Trans Art and Artists."

The National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne's NGV spent more than a half-decade digitizing some 90 percent of the 75,000 objects from its collection, and they're now available for browsing on the institution's website. The oldest and largest museum in Australia offers loads of other fascinating online content, including virtual tours. Don't miss the video of Indigenous Australian artists discussing queer painter Keith Haring's legacy, posted in honor of NGV's Haring/Basquiat exhibit.

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.

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