Although some heritage sites are slowly reopening, many of our favourite destinations will remain closed for a while longer. To fill the gap, Amy Brunskill has created another summary of some of the best ways to get involved in archaeology and heritage from home – as well as listing some of the places that you are now able to visit in person.
If you’re still looking for ways to explore museums and heritage sites from home, look no further! There is a huge array of virtual tours available for a wide variety of sites, as well as extensive museum collection databases that you can peruse online.
National Museums Scotland
Learn about some of the highlights of the NMS collections or take a virtual walk in selected galleries with Google Street View.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Explore 5,000 years of human creativity through the objects and artworks from the museum’s collection available online.
Browse some of the wide variety of artefacts, sculptures, and paintings in the Ashmolean’s collection, spanning more than 10,000 years.
York Museums Trust
Investigate objects and stories from York Castle Museum, Yorkshire Museum and Gardens, York Art Gallery, and York St Mary’s on the Google Arts and Culture page.
National Museums NI
Delve into collections from the three sites that make up the National Museums NI to learn about the history, culture, and people of Northern Ireland and beyond.
Take a virtual site tour of the large Roman villa and Iron Age village uncovered by DigVentures at Wittenham Clumps in Oxfordshire.
Wander through the castle and find out more about its different parts with this interactive 3D model.
Explore a variety of sites, from Old Sarum hillfort to Salisbury Cathedral, with 360° heritage landscape videos on Wessex Archaeology’s YouTube channel.
Hampton Court Palace
Visit the Great Hall, Great Watching Chamber, and Great Kitchens of the royal palace with an interactive tour.
Take a virtual tour to the remains of this Neolithic settlement in Orkney with a 360° virtual-reality video.
Slowly but surely, heritage sites are beginning to welcome visitors once more. Here are some of the first to reopen to the public…
Six staffed sites, including Old Sarum, Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden, and Wrest Park, are now open. From 4 July, 45 more will join them, with the remainder following on 1 August. Booking is required.
More than 100 National Trust gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland, as well as some coastal and countryside car parks, are now open through advanced booking. New tickets are released every Friday.
The Roman auxiliary fort near Hadrian’s Wall is phasing reopening, with access to the archaeological site and gardens on long weekends. Pre-booking is essential. The Vindolanda Museum and Roman Army Museum are working to reopen in early July.
Learning in lockdown
If you’re searching for ways to learn more about the archaeology or heritage that interests you, we’ve put together some of the best resources available online, from a digital festival of archaeology to podcasts and blogs looking at behind-the-scenes stories from museums and archaeologists.
EVENTS AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Festival of Archaeology
Get involved in a wide variety of digital events, from online lectures to Twitter conferences, during this week-long festival, run by the Council for British Archaeology from 11 to 19 July.
Tudor Power and Glory
Discover the history of the Field of Cloth of Gold – in the event’s 500th anniversary year – through this online exhibition from the Royal Armouries Museums.
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Catch up on lectures on a variety of subjects, from the development of clockwork in the 17th century to palaeo-environmental investigations on Arthur’s Seat.
Learn about the women who have appeared on, designed, and produced banknotes in this online exhibition by the Bank of England Museum.
Institute for Northern Studies
Sign up for online public events and seminars run by the University of the Highlands and Islands, or watch recordings of past lectures.
PODCASTS AND RADIO
Speaking with Shadows
Find out about some of the forgotten people and stories in England’s history, such as the Caribbean prisoners captured during the Napoleonic wars and imprisoned at Portchester Castle.
Museum of Lost Objects
Trace the histories of the archaeological objects and landmarks that have been lost in Iraq, Syria, India, and Pakistan.
BBC History Extra
Listen to weekly episodes featuring interviews with historians on a wide range of topics in British and American history.
Meet Me at the Museum
Take a look behind the scenes of museums and galleries in this podcast from the Art Fund, featuring well-known faces taking a trip to their favourite museum.
Enjoy a series of short podcasts exploring the history of Tower Bridge, with stories about the people, engineering, and architecture behind the landmark.
BLOGS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Butser Ancient Farm
Find discussions of relevant historical
topics and updates on the experimental archaeology taking place at Butser, including the construction of their new Neolithic house.
Explore a wide range of posts about different aspects of the country’s past in this blog run by Historic England.
Browse this hashtag on Twitter to see the favourite artefacts and discoveries of many curators and archaeologists, with new finds featured every week.
National Museums Scotland
Read about the work that goes into a travelling exhibition, the precautions taken to protect collections during COVID-19, and stories from the museums’ collections.
Learn about some of Wessex Archaeology’s latest archaeological work, past projects, and interesting discoveries, as well as community events and company news.
Find something to entertain the whole family in this section. With options ranging from new TV shows to tours of British Museum exhibitions and craft ideas from a whole variety of sources, there’s sure to be something to please everyone!
CRAFTS AND ACTIVITIES
Try your hand at a range of activities to learn about Roman life, from word searches and number challenges to Roman recipes and games.
Royal Collection Trust
Enjoy games and activities based around the collection, create your own Victorian ‘living pictures’, or try to restore an old broken porcelain vase with a virtual jigsaw puzzle.
Natural History Museum
Get the whole family involved in these activities at home, making a T. rex origami dinosaur or building your own volcano from a plastic bottle.
Vindolanda Charitable Trust
Find a selection of educational activities based around the Roman fort: learn how to make honey cake, decipher Roman cursive writing, or play Roman numeral twister.
Young Archaeologists Club
Choose from an array of new craft ideas on the YAC website, from baking a stratigraphy cake to making your own ancient Egyptian death-mask.
The Historic Dockyard Chatham
Take part in a new challenge every Monday, as well asexploring previous tasks, like making paper boats and sailor hats or decrypting secret messages using a cipher wheel.
Live from the British Museum
Experience two of the museum’s most popular past exhibitions through exclusive private views filmed during their run. Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum and Vikings: life and legend are now available on YouTube and Facebook.
A House through Time
Get a unique insight into history through the story of the people who lived in one house, from the time it was built until now.
Meet the Romans with Mary Beard
Join Professor Mary Beard as she explores the everyday people at the heart of ancient Rome’s empire, now available again on BBC iPlayer.
Flag Fen Lives 2012
Follow a DigVentures project exploring this well-preserved Bronze Age site through a series of short video diaries.
Hidden Killers: The Tudor Home
Learn about some of the hidden household killers in the Tudor period, as housebuilders engineered new design solutions and technologies to fit changing ideas about the home.
Explore thousands of years of visual culture and trace the development of human creativity and art around the world.