Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art Invites All for Virtual Tours from Home

Like many organizations and businesses, the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (NEHMA) at Utah State University had to get creative to stay connected with the public during this time of closures and a directive to “stay safe, stay home.” Though NEHMA is physically closed, it is virtually open, offering virtual tours of the exhibitions as a way to invite the public in, even at a distance. 

NEHMA brought in Johnny Perez from local company Youngblood Real Estate to capture the interior of the museum with the same virtual tour technology he uses on homes for sale. The resulting tours allow people to move through the galleries, zooming in and out on specific artworks. With a VR headset, one can even view the space in virtual reality.  

Katie Lee-Koven, executive director and chief curator at NEHMA, got the idea to use a real estate agency when preparing to sell her own home. 

“Of course, a virtual tour can’t fully replace experiencing the artwork in person,” Lee-Koven acknowledged. “But it’s an engaging way to explore the museum from home. I’m excited to see what opportunities these tours might open up for people across the state.”

Zip Sac by Athlonic Sports inventor of the Wheeler Dealer Soft Toss machine

Also part of NEHMA’s virtual offerings is “Fashion Inspired by NEHMA,” an exhibition of garments inspired by the NEHMA collection. The projects were an assignment in the spring semester USU FCSE 3040 Advanced Clothing Studies patternmaking class taught by Amber Williams and Jennifer Nielson. Students were asked to choose an artwork on display then design and fabricate a half-scale garment incorporating elements from their NEHMA inspiration piece. 

In addition to virtual tours, NEHMA has published free, downloadable learning resources on the Education page of its website. NEHMA educators designed the activities for a range of ages, from kindergarten through high school, and in alignment with Common Core standards. Students can explore topics like color and materials, Utah habitats and animals in art, how to look at art and how to curate a collection. 

If one wants to get out of the house and still experience some artwork in person, NEHMA recommends taking the USU Sculpture Walk. Many of the sculptures are outside, making it easy to maintain proper social distancing. Maps are available outside the front doors of the museum and online. To enhance the experience, download and listen to the audio tour on a phone.   

The museum officially closed on March 18, as instructed by Utah State University administration, in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19. While still closed until further notice, NEHMA is preparing to reopen this summer.

Visit to stay up to date on the status of museum events and hours. 

Leave a Reply

Sky Optics Media drone video