6 of the best virtual museum adventures for families
From the comfort of your living room, boost creativity and critical thinking and encourage curiosity with cultural experiences for children developed by museum educators all over the world.
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In 2020, museums worldwide adapted their outreach and learning offerings to support children and families at home. The charity Kids in Museums has held its annual Family Friendly Museum Award for the past 15 years, recognising the most family-friendly heritage sites in the UK. Last year, a special award celebrated families' favourite lockdown activities – check out the Family Friendly Museum Award From Home winners to experience them for yourself.
These are Kaitlin Fritz's top virtual experiences from across the globe:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art with MetKids
From New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, MetKids allows children to not only explore the museum through an interactive map, but also dive deeper into subjects like ancient art through videos and their very own ‘time machine’.
If you want to walk through the halls of this sprawling museum as well, Google Arts and Culture has a Metropolitan Museum of Art virtual tour.
Natural History Museum, London
If you have visited the NHM in person, you may remember seeing Hope, the giant blue whale suspended from the ceiling of the great hall in this museum – but did you know you can bring it into your own home with the Natural History Museum’s virtual resources? Stroll through the halls, learn about Hope’s story and examine their iconic Diplodocus Dippy’s skull in 3D.
Once your explorations have come to an end, why not learn how to draw a dinosaur at home with Museum scientist Zach Dickeson?
Hellenic IT Museum with Musemio
Explore the history of computing with the Hellenic IT Museum, the first Greek organization to exclusively exhibit IT history from 1970s to 1990s, by downloading Musemio's newly-launched, gamified quest featuring their artefacts.
Musemio, a UCL edtech startup, allows children to learn about the history of technology, from some of the first computers to the modern-day gaming. With just a mobile app and cardboard headset, children can solve immersive challenges, adventures, and interactive puzzles (like a computer circuit labyrinth!).
San Diego Zoo
From watching a baby elephant play to jumping into the water with a platypus, the world-famous San Diego Zoo’s kids' website allows your child to explore over 12 different animal live cams to see how these animals live. Additionally, they provide engaging videos to highlight how zoos design their habitats and animal-themed crafts to do at home.
Buckingham Palace, London
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to walk through the halls of the Queen’s palace? Now you can with a virtual tour! Wander through the Buckingham Palace State Rooms with Google Arts and Culture. Beyond the interiors, you can also view the fashion designs on display in the rooms, created by designers and artists across the Commonwealth’s countries.
Who says you can’t go to Mars this summer? Roam the red planet’s surface with the Curiosity Rover in this Access Mars interactive web exhibit. You’ll learn more about its environment and see real-life images taken by the rover from its surface. With the help of Google, NASA, and Web VR, your child can begin their intergalactic journey today. No spacesuit necessary!
Kaitlin Fritz is the co-founder of Musemio and an alumna of University College London (UCL History of Art 2018). Musemio is a UCL startup available for teachers and parents to download on any smartphone. Musemio develops mobile virtual reality games that allow children to explore the history of computer technology in a fun and inspiring way to allow them to explore an imaginative technology-inspired world.