10 virtual history museums and experiences to explore from home


The need for social distancing may have forced museums and historic sites around the world to close their doors for the time being, but many have made their spaces, exhibits and collections available to anyone with a digital device and a decent internet connection. Some offer 360-degree tours, like the one that takes you around every nook and cranny of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. Others have virtual exhibits or searchable online archives, like the dozens on the Google Arts & Culture site, where partner museums share treasures like the Rosetta Stone and ancient Egyptian artefacts (The British Museum, London) … emblematic photos of the 20th century (the LIFE Magazine Archives) … or treasures from the history of sport (Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland). Here are 10 remarkable virtual history sites to explore:

Xi’an warriors

A view of the terracotta warriors of Xi’an.

It was one of the most amazing archaeological finds of the 20th century. In 1974, farmers digging a well came across a life-size clay figure that government archaeologists said belonged to a vast army of terracotta soldiers created to protect China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife. The massive mausoleum, created around 210 BC, houses some 8,000 warriors, as well as hundreds of chariots and horses, all arranged in combat formation. In 2017, a Chinese company, inspired by Google Street View, created an awe-inspiring virtual experience that allows visitors to dive into the grave and “walk” among the soldiers, observing their unique facial expressions and traces of their soldiers up close. original colorful paint. interval. You don’t have to read Chinese to appreciate the enormity of it all.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: 5 Things You May Not Know About The Terracotta Army

Smithsonian Museum of American History


James Montgomery Flagg’s “I Want You for the US Army” poster, 1917, the most iconic image produced in support of the WWI recruiting effort.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History bills itself as the largest collection of American history in the world, housing more than 1.8 million objects that each fundamentally define the American experience. The museum has around 100 online exhibits from its encyclopedic collections, each with a mix of photos, videos, graphics, and text on topics ranging from the life of Abe Lincoln (yes, they have the stove hat) to development from the first artificial heart to the evolution of voting machines and even an array of vintage lunch boxes.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: 9 of the most collectable school lunch boxes, 1935-present

The flight museum

Boeing 707-120, US Air Force One

The first presidential aircraft to use jet technology, this purpose-built Boeing 707-120 was known as the SAM (Special Air Missions) 970. It was delivered in 1959.

War planes. Spy planes. Spatialship. Gliders. Kit planes. Eccentric gear. This sprawling museum, adjacent to the Boeing complex south of Seattle, Washington, is considered one of the largest and best air and space museums in the world, with over 150 airplanes, over 25,000 aviation-related artefacts and a wide range of exhibits which collectively chronicle man’s quest to fly. Aviation enthusiasts could easily get lost in its vast searchable and searchable database of these collections, while 360-degree tours allow you to glimpse a dozen iconic aircraft, including the Boeing 747, Concorde and the life-size model of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Museum used. for the training of astronauts.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: Who Was the First President to Fly Air Force One?

National Museum of Women’s History

Come for the deep well of biographies and digital resources for the class, stay for the wide array of virtual exhibits, many of which are powered by Google Arts & Culture. For two decades, the National Women’s History Museum has been the largest online cultural institution telling the stories of women who helped transform the US Heavy with slideshows and graphics, virtual exhibits document women making waves in politics , sports, civil rights, science and technology and more. Check out her collection of oral histories of the American Rosie movement, relaying women’s contributions to the nation’s defense production.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: Milestones in Women’s History: A Timeline

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank’s diary, recounting her hidden life during WWII, remains one of the most powerful testimonies to the horrors of the Holocaust. If a trip to Amsterdam to visit the Anne Frank House isn’t in the cards, AnneFrank.org has the next best thing. Along with tons of informative content about the teenager, her diary, and the war, there are bells and whistles galore: an interactive timeline, videos about her life, a 360-degree tour of the house, a tour in virtual reality of the secret annex where she and her family hid for 761 days, and an accompanying exhibit on Google Arts & Culture.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: How Anne Frank’s Diary Became an International Sensation

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum


Franklin D. Roosevelt loved to be seen in public sitting in her car, as she hid her polio-ravaged legs while projecting an image of power and movement forward.

FDR, the only US president to have served four terms, presided over the nation during two of its most trying times: the Great Depression and World War II. This online experience guides users piece by piece through the exhibits of its expansive Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York, bringing together a wealth of original documents, artifacts, videos, 360-degree tours and more. . Together they illustrate everything from FDR’s little-known assassination attempt to its New Deal policies and wartime decisions to the important role of Eleanor. It’s easy to lose track of time going through all the fascinating letters, whether it’s a voter urging him to “stop being a smiling, wasteful, fickle prima donna politician” to that of Albert Einstein detailing his objections to the atomic bomb.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: How FDR became the first and only president to serve four terms


NASA Icing Research Tunnel

Inside the icing research tunnel at NASA’s John Glenn Research Center. This is one of the many NASA facilities available for a virtual tour.

Calling all space geeks: Head over to the NASA website for ultimate fun in the Last Frontier. Get the full scoop on all of NASA’s key programs past and present, from the Hubble Telescope and the Mars Rover to the upcoming Parker Solar Probe. Check out the History hub to dive deep into photos, videos, and articles about all of their historical missions. Enjoy a vein of space imagery with the cache of ultra high definition videos taken from various missions, like the virtual tour of the moon in 4K, made possible by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. For aspiring astronauts, virtual tours abound of NASA’s various research and training facilities, putting users directly into a supersonic wind tunnel, a zero gravity laboratory, flight simulators, a complex of space environments and more. again.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: The Space Race

American Battlefield Trust Virtual Tours

Gettysburg National Military Park

The Pennsylvania State Monument is the largest memorial on the Gettysburg battlefield, commemorating the tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who fought there.

Most on-site battlefield tours require a leap of the imagination: the ability to wander through a perfectly peaceful open field and overlay a mental film of smoke, combat, and fallen warriors, all taking into account military strategy and broader political issues. ABT’s website might not have the sun on your back, but it marries setting, action, and context much more seamlessly, with its 360-degree virtual tours of over 20 fields of view. battle of the American Revolution and Civil War. In the Gettysburg Tour alone there are 15 different stops – no walking required – each featuring clickable icons with granular details on all the who, what and why. And when you’re done with your tour, be sure to explore the site’s other solid resources, from battle summaries to generals’ bios.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: 7 Important Civil War Battles

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture

A memorial to the salvation of black power by American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

While there are many current and past exhibitions to explore online here, the real draw is in the collections. In the Collections Stories area of ​​the site, museum staff members share items that resonate with them historically or culturally, be it Muhammad Ali’s training gear … the dress that Carlotta Walls, one of the supposedly Little Rock Nine, wore when she walked the glove of angry crowds on her first day of integration into Little Rock Central High School … or shards of stained glass from the 16th bombing Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four little girls. And if you’ve got plenty of time to explore, browse the museum’s vast open-source collections, filled with letters, documents, photos, and artifacts. They pass on the vast African-American experience – from a slave ship manifesto to a poster for Sidney Poitier’s film to sir, with love.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: One of the last survivors of a slave ship describes his ordeal in a 1930s interview

American Holocaust Memorial Museum

A photo of Americans protesting against German aggression during World War II.

A photo of Americans protesting against German aggression during World War II.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC features powerful online exhibits packed with resources such as videos, timelines, glossaries, and image galleries rich in powerful original artefacts. Themes include collaboration and complicity, Nazi propaganda, Americans and the Holocaust, racial health policies and more. Elsewhere on the museum site: an in-depth archive of interviews with survivors, moving artifacts like a gallery of 600 Holocaust victim ID cards, and a place to browse the huge, sobering collections.

Click HERE for the experience.

READ MORE: US response to the Holocaust


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