We know it’s easy to feel out-of-touch with the museum world whilst staying at home. Although some galleries are opening their doors in Europe, the hallowed halls of familiar heritage institutions still seem distant. We’re here to ease the burden and connect you to the world of museums and heritage during lockdown.
If we’ve missed something, we’d love you to share it with us! Tweet us @voicemaguk and stay involved in the culture dialogue.
Locked in, in lockdown
Let me transport you to Thebes, Greece. Your name is now Lysistrata and you have been tasked with ending the Peloponnesian War. To do so you must navigate your way through a variety of puzzles and quizzes in order to bring your community to safety!
If an Ancient Greek themed escape room isn’t the dream of every Classics enthusiast, I don’t know what is. Brush up your Ancient Greek knowledge and refuel your brain attempting to solve these puzzles. Brought to you by the Actors of Dionysus, this is a great at-home activity for more mature families – bear in mind it is advised those aged 16+ participate. Happy escaping!
Art UK’s Curations feature launched halfway through May and allows users to browse their online collections and put together their very own virtual exhibition. If you’ve been enjoying Google Art & Culture’s virtual museum tours and gallery experiences, then do get involved and have a go at creating your very own exhibition.
Art UK allows users to search its collections via artist, art movement, geographic location or art medium. Take a virtual thumb through their collection in order to inspire and personalise your exhibition. As an example, why not take a look at Thomas Marks’ Curation ‘Roman Holiday’.
Behind the scenes
The Museum of Cornish Life is offering a behind-the-scenes exploration into their collections whilst they are closed during lockdown. Curators and museum staff are leading tours via YouTube and offering insights into different aspects of the museum such as a guided tour of their WWII collection.
For those with children who are looking for a heritage-related hands-on activity, the staff are also holding a Museums Makes series on their YouTube channel. So far they’ve looked at making mini-books, collaging with photos and celebration cards alongside many more.
The Natural History Museum offers a series of evening episodes hosted by museum staff, researchers and scientists. If you’re interested in how the arts and science can combine to educate and inspire, then make sure you check out Museum Lates.
A trip to the museum
This TED talk series takes viewers on a journey from the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., to an underwater museum, to what the role of a curator actually entails. We’re always talking to creative career professionals who try to navigate how people can access heritage online, and the lectures have never seemed more pertinent.
It’s likely you can still visit your local museums – but just make sure you do it virtually! Launched recently, Derby Museums from Home offers you the chance to explore some of its exhibitions as a virtual tour, as if you were wandering through the spaces yourself! The Notice Nature Feel Joy Gallery is a wonderful adventure into the natural world and all things animals, insects and wildlife but also from a historical perspective.
The great thing about these virtual tours is you can also explore exhibitions that are no longer happening, meaning if you didn’t get around to visiting the first time around, now is your chance! My personal recommendations that I did manage to visit during their initial run are Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing and A Personal Collection of Vivienne Westwood’ Shoes – but there are lots of other exhibitions to explore too for every interest.
It also offers you the opportunity to delve deeper into its collections, such as Joseph Wright of Derby and it even presents interactive play and learn possibilities too, with activities for families and younger children so they can keep engaging with heritage during lockdown. Looking for activities to keep you busy at home? Find out how to make a pinwheel windmill or an animal mask here!
The V&A are documenting history as it happens, here and now. Their new series Pandemic Objects is an online project and platform which explores everyday objects that have suddenly taken on new significance during Covid-19. From seemingly ordinary objects such as chairs to more abstract concepts such as dreams, it traces how these items are being appropriated during lockdown and how society is changing the meanings that surround such entities.
Interestingly, it is focussing upon items that are often overlooked or ignored in today’s society but have since gained greater meaning. At the same time, it often compares these with historical artefacts, tracing the history of today’s items to showcase how their meanings have altered or remain unwavering.
It’s presented in an easy to access photoblog format and provides a moment for reflection. We can see how what is happening today with coronavirus is both steeped in history whilst disrupting historical patterns to cause change and new thinking at the same time.
International Travels via Youtube
One of the best things to come out of lockdown is the ability to access heritage anywhere in the world from the comfort of your own living room. Always wanted to see inside The Louvre? No problem, follow a guide and it’s as if you are there. Dreamed of visiting the Vatican? Just watch this short video and it’s as though you are walking through yourself.
Suddenly you no longer need to book a flight to Paris or save up to visit a monumental museum, you can just explore them without even leaving your computer.
Best of all, these types of international heritage sites are suddenly visitable and affordable for everyone despite how little you may have travelled. A great resource for this is Youtube, where there are so many tours to follow, bumbling crowds, busy corridors and all. Just search for a ‘virtual tour of’ wherever you can imagine you want to visit and you are practically there.