Museums joined an online ‘Snowball Fight’ to share cool vintage photos of snowstorms

Twitter / @NYHistory

Whenever a snowstorm hits, you can be sure a snowball fight is not far behind. So when a storm of storms, the Bomb Cyclone, blew through the East Coast on Jan. 4, it’s no surprise it inspired a one-of-a-kind snowball fight to match.

Snow Day

The unlikely instigator, a New York City museum, threw the first ‘snowball’ with a tweet. The Museum of the City of New York shared a snowy shot from 1899.

Like a snowball fight in the park, this virtual blizzard brawl escalated quickly. More museums joined in with the hashtag #museumsnowballfight and sent snowy photo after snowy photo flying on Twitter.

The New-York Historical Society fired back with a vintage shot of piled high powder. This one dates back to 1888.

As the game went on, the museums got more creative with their photos.

Snow removal has come a long way since these shots from 1929.

After some friendly blizzard banter, more museums joined in. It didn’t matter that some museums were well outside of the bomb cyclone’s reach.

Like many great trends, the #museumsnowballfight started in New York City and quickly spread across the country. In fact, some especially clever cultural institutions abroad joined in as well.

International Affair

The National Gallery of Canada tossed in a classic snowy scene complete with a horse-drawn carriage.

This museum in Munich even found the impossible: unicorn snow.

Also in Germany, this university shared a print from 1792.

Friendly Fight

The more the merrier for this snowy skirmish. The original participants invited other museums to join in the fun with each new snowball.

As the day went on, the New-York History Society made sure to keep the ball rolling.

Then, the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY, upped the ante with a snow fort circa 1910.

Not to be left out, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City shared a photo of penguins from Antarctica. If anyone knows how to weather a snowstorms, it’s these well-dressed birds.

On the other hand, the Brooklyn Museum opted for a Japanese artist’s snowball fight scene.

The Detroit Institute of Arts joined in with a snowy painting from Willard Leroy Metcalf.

The Museum of History & Industry in Seattle wins hands down for biggest snowball with this photo from 1947. Though, it looks pretty difficult to throw.

Presidents at Play

These throwback images from the Presidential Libraries & Museums of the National Archives and Records Administration provide a glimpse into how past presidents played in the powder.

For example, Jimmy Carter went sledding at Camp David.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama played with his daughters near the White House after heavy snowfall in 2010.

The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Tennessee shared a charming stereoscopic image of a snowman from 1902.

The Missouri History Museum in St. Louis taught us that the winter of 1905 was so cold, the Mississippi River froze over.

National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. fired back with two snowy works of art.

No scarves, hats or gloves were required to join in on this snow-day skirmish. It brightened up a cold day for many people and shows no signs of stopping!

Even though many schools were closed on the East Coast, we all learned a little and laughed a lot. In this virtual snowball fight, we definitely all win.


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About the Author
Jennifer Nied
Jennifer Nied is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She focuses on beauty, wellness, and travel stories with a background covering the spa industry.

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