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October 2020

Virtual Arts, Culture, Fun and Games  

by Holly Stupak

While size restrictions continue for indoor and outdoor gatherings, here’s some fresh ideas for bringing the arts to you and for virtually gathering for fun with socially distanced family and friends.

ARTS TO GO
Museums whose collections bring us joy and wonder at the world’s gifted artists are cautiously reopening with many restrictions due to social distancing safety protocols. Until they’re again allowed unlimited visitors, they’ve generously arranged to bring the arts to us.

Penn Museum
www.Penn.museum 215-898-4000
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology offers many collections and courses to help us appreciate humans past and present, especially by learning about objects made by humans and their many diverse customs and traditions. The EVENTS section of this museum’s website offers descriptions of and registration forms for virtual family-friendly events and also virtual events designed for adults. Some events let you travel the globe without leaving your home! For example, from 4–5pm on Weds Oct 21, you can get to know Mexico’s fascinating culture from its ancient civilizations to its vibrant and complex contemporary society. To preview upcoming events, click on the EVENTS Calendar and scroll down and over to following pages. A 4-part “Southwest Textiles in Motion” class starts Thursday evening October 8. The museum’s Culture Films Series (monthly 2nd Sunday 2pm October–March) showcases films that combine cultural elements and bring to light the concept of active selection, adaptation, or rejection of beliefs. Each film’s showing is a one-time event followed by a Q&A discussion with the director, producer, or cultural expert. Visit the website frequently to discover new interesting offerings.

Annenberg Center’s Fall 2020 Digital Season
This series of exclusive performances brings some of the best dance and music artists into your home. These one-night-only live performances will include live-chat to connect you with fellow patrons and Q&A with the artists, offering an intimate opportunity to interact with the creators and performers. This series also includes a wide range of intriguing and unique films, many produced by filmmakers on the University of Pennsylvania campus and in the Philadelphia area.
www.AnnenbergCenter.org 215-898-3900

VIRTUAL GAME NIGHTS
This year, we’ve all learned to think outside the box for ways to create and maintain feeling connected with one another. It’s frustrating that our enjoyable weekly or monthly card or board game nights have been put on hold for so many months. Although many of those fun games are not possible virtually, here’s some that are.

Watson Adventures’ Scavenger Hunts and Virtual Games
www.WatsonAdventures.com 877-946-4868
Watson Adventures offers virtual around-the-world scavenger hunts, in versions for adults and for kids. They also offer trivia games, murder mystery games, games that explore museums online, and virtual city tour games. In a virtual scavenger hunt, you and your teammates search for answers to tricky or humorous questions that enable you to virtually visit and explore a neighborhood, a museum or some other interesting place. Using video conferencing technologies such as Zoom, teams of 2-6 players (depending on the game) can join from multiple locations and enter a virtual room where they can communicate with each other and collaborate on the challenges. If you don’t have a team pre-assembled, you’ll be teamed up with soon-to-be friends when the game starts. For the general public, weekend scavenger hunts are available in six cities including the Philadelphia area, and weekend virtual games are available anywhere with internet access. Public scavenger hunts are scheduled every Saturday evening in October. First-come, first-served registration in advance is required, and cost is $19 per person, with 25 people max per game. Groups can also schedule private game events. Happy Hunting!

Penn Museum
www.Penn.museum 215-898-4000
In addition to the above ways to virtually explore and appreciate this museum’s cultural offerings, they’re also offering an adults Game Night – Couples Edition on Thursday, October 29, 8:00–9:00pm. During this intimate digital tour of the museum’s world-renowned Egypt Galleries, your and other teams of two will interact through fun chats, polls, and quizzes about ancient Egypt. This BYOB drink virtual event is a great opportunity for a memorable date night or some competition that’s also culturally informative. Check the site’s Calendar for other adult Game nights for individuals or teams.

Scattergories Online
www.ScattergoriesOnline.net
If you like playing Scattergories but can’t play in person with friends, you can still enjoy that fun game by playing with others at a different location using the online version. The site creates a Zoom link where players come together online and race against a timer to enter words that all start with a specific letter but are in 5-7 different categories. The more unique your answers are compared to other players’, the more points you earn. A competitive and fun way to train your brain while forgetting about social distancing for a while.

Family-Friendly Card and Board Games Online
www.PlayingCards.io
This site lets you play some tabletop and 52-card games in your browser, multiplayer with your friends, for free! To start playing, choose from over a dozen games on the site’s HOME page, create a room to get a room code, and share your room code with other players. (To talk with other players, use the phone or another audio or video conferencing site.) Board games include Checkers, Chess, Backgammon and Cribbage. Card games include Go Fish, Match Up (aka Memory or Concentration), Crazy Eights, Hearts and more. You can even create a room that includes custom game boards, custom cards, card holders, counters, spinners, game pieces, and more. Game on!