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Cultural Collections

At home during Coronavirus pandemic? U-M offers online courses, exhibitions and more

The Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design has created a new $25,000 prize to advance the project of one graduating senior.

ANN ARBOR—Living rooms around the world can become places to learn how to start a business for social impact or to peek inside a museum to see homemade ancient wooden toy horses from Roman Egypt.

The University of Michigan is providing multiple opportunities to learn and explore online while staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

U-M’s art and performance organizations and its libraries have many exhibits, performances, speakers and other enriching resources online. Many museums, galleries and units across campus are currently working to create online content to assist K-12 and college learners. Stay up to date at

Through Michigan Online, U-M has more than 180 learning opportunities for those who want to try something new, sharpen an existing skill, or just be enriched. U-M has a portfolio of more than 180 online learning opportunities.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) featured as single courses, series and specializations are free to faculty, staff, alumni and students of the university and come with a small cost to others. An ongoing series of short, self-guided learning opportunities called teach-outs offer experts on a variety of current topics. These are offered free to all. 

Exhibitions, performances, events, speakers

U-M Penny Stamps Speaker Series: While the U-M Stamps School of Art & Design has suspended Stamps Gallery hours, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series events, which usually take place on Thursdays at the Michigan Theater, have all been moved online. This well-known series brings respected innovators from a broad spectrum of fields to U-M to conduct public lectures that are free and open to the public each semester. The first online event featuring Alex Dehgan of technology startup Conservation X Labs is now live, and subsequent events will be posted weekly at

All past Stamps Speaker Series events have been recorded and archived at:

U-M Library: The U-M Library has several online exhibitions covering topics ranging from “Fantasy Classics for Children” and a celebration of Jane Austen’s characters to Shakespeare and artists books. Browse exhibits.

Clements Library: For nearly 100 years, U-M’s William L. Clements Library has housed one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of early American History in the world. View several of their online exhibitions.

U-M Museum of Natural History: While the U-M Museum of Natural History may be closed, staff and faculty there are looking at ways they can share the museum experience virtually during its closure, including virtual tours and videos detailing science-related activities that can be done with children at home. The public can sign up for their e-newsletter to get updates as resources are added online.

University Musical Society: While most of the UMS upcoming performances and events have been canceled (see refund policy), there are many online resources available, including their popular musical playlists, which can be found on Spotify and Apple Music. UMS is one of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country, committed to connecting audiences with performing artists from around the world in uncommon and engaging experiences. Their online searchable archive details their 141-year history. 

U-M Museum of Art: Work by Kara Walker, James McNeill Whistler, Claude Monet, Andy Warhol, Helen Frankenthaler, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso and more are available to view in UMMA’s entire collection online. The U-M Museum of Art is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country, with holdings representing the historical to the contemporary.

U-M Museum of Archaeology: While the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is closed, all of their past exhibitions are online, including “Graffiti as Devotion Along the Nile,” their most recent offering. Learn about the wooden toy horses from Roman Egypt.

TEDxUofM: Borrowing the template from the TED conference, TEDxUofM aims to bring a TED-like experience to the university. The vision is to showcase the most fascinating thinkers and doers for a day of presentations, discussions, entertainment and art to spark new ideas and opportunities across all disciplines. View the most recent TEDxUofM 2020 conference in full. 

U-M School of Music, Theatre and Dance: A leading performing arts school, SMTD will continue offering performances to the community even though students and faculty are off campus this spring. Watch a variety of songs, monologues, and interviews online.

A sample of online learning opportunities

Through Michigan Online, U-M has several online learning opportunities for those who want to try something new, sharpen an existing skill, or just be enriched. U-M has a portfolio of more than 180 online learning opportunities. Here are a selection of courses:

Inspiring and Motivating Arts and Culture Teams: The focus of this MOOC specialization is to enable students to use data to analyze on-field sports performance. Sports data is widely available on the web and many people are interested in using modern methods to analyze it. Their reasons vary: some want to understand player performance from the coaching perspective, others want to generate data visualization for the media, and some want to predict results for the purpose of gambling. This series will equip students with the skills to gather sports data and analyze it in Python. Sign up today.

Storytelling for Social Change: This course develops skills for using stories to deliver messages that affect audiences and shape attitudes for social change. Learn how building empathy and developing characters can offer multiple perspectives on complex problems. Social change happens when listeners or viewers identify with messages delivered through a protagonist they identify with. Theatre artists and professional storytellers offer expertise about how to craft a story that develops empathy and delivers impact. You will watch video interviews with storytelling experts, view performances, and write your own story for social change. Sign up today.

Community Engagement: Collaborating for Change: Developed by a highly interdisciplinary team of U-M content experts and faculty, this course is designed to be both engaging and challenging, offering an accessible entry into foundational topics as well as a jumping off point to pursue work and further learning in effective community engagement. It is also a toolkit and a roadmap that offers concrete takeaways and resources for working effectively with communities. Sign up today.

Good with Words: Writing and Editing: Learn how to clearly communicate ideas and how improved writing and editing skills can impact academic and professional prospects. This MOOC series focuses on the fundamentals of words, sentences, drafting and editing. Will be available via Michigan Online late April/early May 2020.

The Power of Art in Prisons: Learn about the therapeutic power of the arts, and how creative outlets can transform the lives of incarcerated individuals. Sign up today.

Earth Day at 50 Teach-Out (FutureLearn) or Earth Day at 50 Teach-Out (Coursera): On April 22, the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual event meant to bring people together from across the world in protest, solidarity and conversation about how we can collectively fight for a sustainable and just world. This teach-out will engage learners in an intergenerational and interdisciplinary conversations about what sustainability means across different sectors, disciplines and lived experiences. Will be available via Michigan Online on April 6, 2020.

Other current and upcoming titles: Melting Ice Rising Seas Teach-Out (live now); Design Computing: Coding with Python/Rhinoscrip; Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality; Exploring Piano Literature; and Hearing Loss in Children.

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