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Need an escape? Explore IU’s art collections and museums from home

Mar 20, 2020
The focus gallery at the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art
While the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art is temporarily closed, you can still view some of the collections online.Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

The need to practice social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is forcing institutions that many turn to for comfort in times of crisis to temporarily close their doors. Theaters, concert halls, libraries and museums across the globe are empty in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. But there are still ways to take in the arts from afar while confined to your home. Here are some Indiana University collections to check out when you need an escape.

Enjoy world-class musical performances from your couch

IU Jacobs School of Music streams on-demand performances online, including faculty recitals, concerts and even operas. Among the performances you can experience is the fall production of “Parsifal,” a tradition IU revived in honor of the IU Bicentennial. The more than four-hour work was performed regularly on campus from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Take a tour of Wylie House Museum

Step back in time by making a virtual visit to IU’s Wylie House Museum. The university’s first president, Andrew Wylie, built the house in 1835. Once you finish the 3D tour, check out historic photos of the house and Wylie family, or explore exhibits online. 

Oscar winners participate in an
Oscar winners participate in an “Indiana School of the Sky” production.IU Archives

Listen to retro radio

IU’s Department of Radio and Television produced an educational radio program called “The Indiana School of the Sky” from 1947 through the early 1960s. IU students wrote, produced and performed the shows that featured segments on art, history, current events and even dating advice.

The Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative has digitized lacquered recordings of the these programs, which you can listen to online. Why not start with a show about Ludwig van Beethoven? This year is the 250th anniversary of his birth.

Discover hidden treasures

The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art recently launched an online database that showcases some of the more than 45,000 items in its collections. One section features hidden treasures, including several items that aren’t on display at the museum. Learn more about a photograph taken by America’s most famous photographer or an object scholars can’t seem to agree on.

Experience the first Little 500

IU’s iconic Little 500 race started in 1951, when former IU Foundation President Howdy Wilcox came up with the idea as a way to raise scholarship money through the IU Student Foundation. While the race has been canceled for the spring semester, you can get a glimpse of what the first two years were like by watching archival video from the Moving Image Archive.

Troy Ruttman receives a kiss as a crowd happily surrounds him in Victory Lane
Troy Ruttman receives a kiss as a crowd happily surrounds him in Victory Lane following his Indy 500 win in 1952.IUPUI University Library digital collections

See the Indy 500’s transformation

Just as Little 500 is synonymous with IU, the Indy 500 introduced many people across the globe to the Hoosier State. IUPUI’s University Library is partnering with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to preserve photographs documenting the track’s history.

The pictures date back to before the first Indy 500, starting in 1909. The online collection includes more than 21,000 photos that show how the sport and the race has changed over the years.


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Barbara Brosher

Executive Director of Storytelling and Research Communications, and Interim Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications

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