As we find ourselves back in lockdown, the vast quantity of resources available online seems more valuable than ever. Amy Brunskill has put together a selection of some of the many ways you can get involved in archaeology, history, and heritage from home, to help you explore the past until museums and heritage sites are able to open once more.
Enjoy a wide range of resources from museums and heritage sites that allow you to explore collections at your leisure, take virtual tours of places around the world, and delve into online exhibitions covering subjects from ancient burial mounds in Japan to a World Heritage Site in India.
MUSEUMS AND EXHIBITIONS
- German Historical Museum, Berlin, Germany – Take a virtual trip to the German Historical Museum and explore online exhibits covering topics like ‘Colonial Histories’ and ‘Images of Migration’, or simply walk around using Google Street View.
- Searching for Shakespeare – Explore the archaeological discoveries shedding light on the life of William Shakespeare in this new virtual exhibition, which showcases the artefacts found at the site of his family home.
- Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution – Enjoy an online tour of the British Museum’s recent Tantra exhibition, led by the curator, Imma Ramos, and find out more about this revolutionary philosophy.
- Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds, Gyoda, Japan – Learn more about the ancient burial mounds of the Sakitama Kofun Cluster, with online exhibitions displaying artefacts found during excavations and a virtual tour of the museum.
- Tenement Museum, New York, USA – Find a range of digital exhibitions and virtual events on the Tenement Museum’s website exploring the history of immigrants, refugees, and immigration to New York.
- Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Córdoba, Spain – Enjoy several online exhibits introducing the artefacts in the museum’s collection, covering themes including home and private life, funerary rituals, and prehistoric Córdoba.
HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
- Gjellestad, Norway – Enjoy this digital reconstruction, which takes you on a journey through the story of human activity at the site of Gjellestad, where a Viking ship burial has been discovered.
- Sights of Wonder – Delve into this selection of photographs of ancient landmarks taken by Francis Bedford during the 1862 Royal Tour.
- Antonine Wall, Scotland – Travel across the Antonine Wall and find out more about the forts, camps, and other sites along the Roman frontier in Scotland with this interactive map.
- Bagan, Myanmar – Find out how digital conservation is being used to preserve the ancient city’s temples, which were damaged during an earthquake in 2016.
- Toffee Hammer Listings, United Kingdom – Discover more than 40 sites that witnessed acts of protest and sabotage by the suffragettes in this online exhibition of images from the Historic England Archive.
- Olympia, Greece – Explore the ancient Greek ruins of buildings like the Stadium, Gymnasium, and Temples of Zeus and Hera, and learn more about the myths surrounding this celebrated ceremonial and sporting site.
- Mahabalipuram, India – Take a tour of the monuments that make up the complex of Mahabalipuram with this exploration of the ancient Indian architecture and sculptures of the World Heritage Site.
Learning in Lockdown
Here’s another selection of archaeology- and heritage-related resources that you can access from the comfort of your sofa, from an online Viking festival, to podcasts about museums and history, and blogs, videos, and Twitter threads on a wide range of subjects.
EVENTS AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
- That JORVIK Viking Thing – Get involved in this online festival hosted by JORVIK Viking Centre, with live-streamed events, saga-telling, a virtual tour around the Centre, and more, between 15 and 20 February.
- Roman Life: Gladiators – Enjoy this talk from Richard Bale at the Colchester Archaeological Trust, looking at the reasons why gladiators were both admired and despised by the Romans.
- Homeschool History – Discover more about historical topics from Pocahontas to the Battle of Hastings in this show from Greg Jenner of Horrible Histories, with accompanying online resources.
- MyLearning – Find an array of learning resources from heritage organisations across the UK, ranging from a guide to Egyptian mummification to the stories of Victorian coal miners.
- Playing in the Past – Explore how past worlds are represented and experienced digitally. In 2021, this broadcast will focus on the video game Assassin’s Creed: Origins, set in ancient Egypt.
- Lynn Museum – Find online events from this Norfolk museum, including ‘Quiz a Character’ Zoom webinars.
PODCASTS AND RADIO
- Revolutionary Women – Find out more about the female warriors, scientists, and visionaries who changed the world, from Dido of Carthage to Christina of Sweden, in this series of episodes from The Forum.
- People. Change. Museums – Discover this new podcast, which looks at the relationship between museums and technology, and the challenges they are currently facing.
- When in Rome – Delve into a podcast that explores place and space in the Roman Empire, visiting sites across the Roman world.
- Museum Secrets – This new podcast from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, offers an insight into the life of the museum and objects in its collections.
- Sawbones – While more recent instalments mostly focus on the current COVID-19 situation, there is a large back catalogue of episodes to take you on a fascinating tour of medical history over time.
- We are History – Enjoy this light-hearted history podcast, which looks at interesting and quirky stories from the past, ranging from East German nudism to ‘tulip fever’ in 17th-century Amsterdam.
BLOGS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
- Crash Course World History – View a series of fun, educational history videos on YouTube.
- Black Country Museum – These short videos from the living museum in Dudley, UK, bring Britain’s early manufacturing history vividly to life.
- DigVentures – Find out about DigVentures’ most exciting archaeological discoveries with this blogpost, which lists the highlights and the best finds of 2020.
- Egyptology in Lockdown – Curator Dr Campbell Price returns with more weekly videos exploring objects from the Egyptology collection of the Manchester Museum. You can watch live on Periscope, or catch up on the website.
- #MysteryObjectMonday – Use Twitter to discover a wealth of weird and wonderful artefacts from museums and collections around the world.
- Ancient City Travel Guide: Persepolis, 500 BC – Take a trip back to ancient Persepolis, the capital of the Persian Achaemenid empire, in this post on the British Museum’s blog.
Find a selection of online games, downloadable colouring sheets, craft instructions, apps, and more, or choose from a variety of TV shows, films, and mini-series. Whether you are interested in constructing a Pictish chariot, building your own virtual museum, or finding out more about the art of ancient Iran, you’re sure to find something for the whole family below.
CRAFTS AND ACTIVITIES
- Acropolis Museum Kids – Discover a selection of ancient Greek-themed games, videos, and activities; challenge your memory; or join an archaeological space mission trying to save the memory of ancient monuments.
- Cultural Crosswords – Try your hand at online crosswords whose clues are related to culture, art, and history in this Google Arts & Culture experiment.
- Birmingham Museums and Gallery for Kids – Choose from a variety of games and activities relating to different historical periods, from ancient Egypt to the Second World War
- How to Cook a Medieval Feast – Create a medieval feast at home with these 11 recipes from the Middle Ages, ranging from mixed pickles and mushroom pasties to lamb stew and cream custard tart.
- History in Your Hands – Find more instructions and ideas for historical activities from the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, including pottery decoration, arrowhead keychains, and underwater archaeology.
- Historic Environment Scotland: Medieval Fun for Families – Get the whole family to try out activities linked to a range of medieval jobs, from castle-building stonemasons and jousting knights to monks and nuns.
- The Dig – Enjoy this new film based on the novel by John Preston, which tells a reimagined version of the story of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo. Available now on Netflix.
- Lucy Worsley’s Royal Palace Secrets – Go behind the doors of three of England’s royal palaces to find out how each building influenced the monarchy and changed the course of British history.
- Egypt’s Great Mummies: Unwrapped – Join Bettany Hughes as she explores the stories contained in ten of Egypt’s most intriguing mummies.
- African Renaissance: When Art Meets Power – Explore the histories of Ethiopia, Senegal, and Kenya in this three-part documentary series which examines the art, music, and culture of these countries on their own terms.
- Walking Hadrian’s Wall with Robson Green – Travel the length of Hadrian’s Wall through a series in which Robson Green makes the 84-mile journey from Wallsend on the east coast of England to Bowness in the west.
- Victorian Sensations – Discover the science and technology that transformed society in the 1890s and find out more about this decade of rapid change.