Zoom conference calls with co-workers during the day and Netflix streaming at night; there is no doubt that we’re relying heavily on technology to get us through self-isolation.
Beyond work and binge watching, there are many ways to explore culture from home. Famous international and national museums, zoos and parks, as well as local Long Island educational institutions are offering virtual tours. Here are a few to check out while we practice social distancing. You can also use the hashtag #MuseumFromHome to discover more online experiences from museums around the world.
The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City
The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City is going viral. The museum has turned to the social media app TikTok to bring the museum online, helping educators, and staying connected with its community during unprecedented times. In a series of videos, under the hashtag #educatortom, the museum has quickly created and shared more than 50 videos on the history of ingenuity and innovation in aerospace, generating 1.5 million views, 10,000 followers and 100,000 likes in less than a week.
The team behind this social media hit is the museum’s creative manager Rod Leonhard and assistant director of education Tom Barry, who have produced edutainment videos that are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related. The TikTok videos, each shown in one 15 second clip at a time, also shine a light on some of the smaller exhibits at the Cradle of Aviation Museum and some lesser-known facts about the big ones. You can see them for yourself at www.tiktok.com/@cradleofaviation.
Additionally, the museum is bringing its experience online through virtual visits to the museum’s galleries with Google Street Views 360, dedicated programming on social media including replays of special events like the 50th Anniversary Apollo Dinner, at-home activity videos and recommended lists from its curator and educators. Visit www.cradleofaviation.org to start discovering.
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Although the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building is currently closed to the public, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has a robust digital community to explore. You can tour the iconic building through a slideshow and learn more about the history and design of the museum by listening to the corresponding audio guide. Its memorable collections are also available to view and the public can watch from the archive of live-stream interviews with Guggenheim staff members for a close look at the museum’s architecture, exhibitions and history. Visit www.guggenheim.org to plan your virtual tour.
Vatican Museums, Rome
In one of the world’s most hard hit nations, there is still beauty to be found. The lofty ceilings and intricate murals at the Vatican’s museums are on full display via seven virtual tours. The tours’ 360-degree images allow viewers to look up in awe of the iconic Sistine Chapel. Virtual tourists can also explore Saint Peter’s Basilica and Square with a tour guide narrating each interactive destination. Visit museivaticani.va to see the sights.
Natural History Museum, London
See the famed Dippy the dino, plus more than 80 million specimens of butterflies, plants, crystals and more from your couch, courtesy of the Natural History Museum in London. Explore a story of natural history discovery in an interactive experience, entitled Making Natural History, voiced by museum researchers and curators. Encounter a prehistoric marine reptile in virtual reality, discover pioneering museum research in a short film, navigate the galleries in 360 degrees and take a tour of 10 new exhibits that address different natural history themes. Visit nhm.ac.uk for the full interactive online guide.
The Louvre, Paris
The Musée du Louvre, Tuileries Garden and Cour Carrée will remain closed until further notice, but you can still enjoy the cultural hub from the comfort of your home. The world’s largest art museum is home to some of the most famous artistic creations known to mankind. The Louvre is offering tours of its most popular exhibits, including Egyptian Antiquities and The Advent of the Artist, which features the works of Delacroix, Rembrandt and Tintoretto. See the artwork at www.louvre.fr.
Space Center Houston
NASA is offering boatloads of interactive entertainment and educational materials on its website, including online STEM games and even homework help for kids. But through The Space Center Houston’s app, virtual visitors can test out some far out augmented reality experiences. With the Space Center Houston app, you’ll be able to explore the moon, watch the Saturn V launch and more. The free app also features an audio tour, GPS maps, selfie filters and virtual reality lite with every gallery in 360 degrees. Download the app on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks
Google’s online Arts and Culture website is making it possible to explore some of our nation’s most scenic national parks. In partnership with the National Park Service, the program allows viewers to follow expert park rangers on a journey to places most people never go. The high-resolution imagery is nothing short of breathtaking. There are currently five featured national parks: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Visit www.artsandculture.google.com/project/national-park-service to start exploring nature again.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is bringing the zoo to you. During the temporary closure, the zoo is offering Home Safari Facebook Live sessions seven days a week. The Home Safari’s start at around 3 p.m. EST. The first one featured the world’s most famous hippo, Fiona. To watch live, just visit the zoo’s Facebook page at 3 p.m. The zoo will also post the safari’s on their website and on YouTube so everyone can view.
American Museum of Natural History, New York
The American Museum of Natural History is offering opportunities to visit virtually through the Museum’s YouTube channel, a Virtual Tour from Google Arts & Culture, as well as through previously recorded tours of the museum’s halls and collections being shared as Facebook Lives at 2 p.m. ET every Tuesday and Thursday. Other offerings include:
- The OLogy science website, where kids and families can find fun activities and games to learn about the natural world around them.
- Online curriculum collections for teachers, parents and students, on topics ranging from dinosaurs to river ecology.
- Learning opportunities for all ages through museum courses on Coursera, Khan Academy and Kahoot.
- The Seminars on Science program, which offers online professional development programs for educators, the cost of which can include graduate credit.