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Media Monday: Zoom in on culture with Google

The idea is to allow learners to get as close as possible to the process of creating batik cloth in Ghana or Leonardo da Vinci’s engineering creations. We can see art, architecture, and historical objects that we might never have the chance to look at and learn about in person, and through these superb images and sounds—all accompanied by expert narration by historians, scientists, and museum curators—we can see much more than we would be able to see even if we were at the museums ourselves.

Kids interested in art can almost touch Mary Cassatt’s brush strokes and colors, and kids interested in dinosaurs can watch The Giraffatitan come to life, as its skeleton is covered with flesh and skin and it begins to walk around Berlin’s Museum of Natural History.

The thing that struck me most when I was exploring the website and app myself is the advantage of the zoom feature. If I were at the London Natural History Museum’s exhibit on butterflies in real life, I couldn’t get close enough to really see the changing colors of the wings the way I can by zooming in on my screen. And as someone who lives in Washington, DC, with easy access to the Smithsonian’s amazing collections, I have to admit that the advantages of using this tool are nothing to sneeze at: no crowds, no waiting, you can stay as long as you like at each exhibit—and they’re all open 24/7.

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