Heritage from home: June

As museums and heritage sites reopen, we’re looking forward to visiting our favourite spots as soon as possible – but there are still plenty of resources available online from historical, archaeological, and cultural institutions and sites around the world, as well as podcasts, TV shows, social media content, and more. Current World Archaeology's Amy Brunskill has put together another selection of options, as well as summarising some of the places that have recently reopened.

Virtual visits

Museums and heritage sites around the world continue to offer ways to explore collections and historical places from home, through guided tours, online exhibitions, digital versions of physical exhibits, 360° videos and photos, and more.


Royal Museums Greenwich, UK
Go behind the scenes at Royal Museums Greenwich with these online guided tours to discover some of the rare objects from the collection and meet the curators who look after them.

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum Collection, Japan
Explore the collections of six Tokyo museums with this new online database which brings together the archives of institutions like the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.

Daring to Dig, USA
Learn more about the women who shaped American palaeontology with this online exhibition, which accompanies a new physical exhibit at the Museum of the Earth and the Paleontological Research Institution.

National Museums NI
Experience several virtual exhibitions from National Museums Northern Ireland, including Florence Nightingale: 200 Years, Welcoming Rembrandt to the Ulster Museum, and Impressionist Works from the Courtauld.

Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, India
https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/ dr-bhau-daji-lad-mumbai-city-museum
Find out more about the history of Mumbai in the 19th and 20th century with a Google Street View tour of the city’s oldest museum, as well as online exhibits and highlights from the collection.

• National Palace Museum, Taiwan
https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/ national-palace-museum-taiwan
Delve into the extensive collection of Chinese art and artefacts housed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, with treasures spanning more than 8,000 years of history.

Photo: Brady Montz.


• Rapa Nui, Easter Island
https://artsandculture.google.com/project/ heritage-on-the-edge-rapa-nui
Find out more about the statues and sacred sites of the island through 3D images, virtual tours, and online exhibitions looking at its past, present, and future.

Neolithic Tombs, Wales
https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/whats-on/virtual-visits/ virtual-visits-neolithic-tombs
Discover new virtual tours of two of Wales’ prehistoric sites: the Neolithic tomb of Barclodiad y Gawres, with its rare examples of prehistoric art, and the burial chambers of Dyffryn Ardudwy.

• Taj Mahal, India
Take a virtual tour around the UNESCO World Heritage Site to appreciate the magnificent structure and its classical gardens and surroundings through aerial photographs and pictures from around the site.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Maahid Photos.

The Palace Museum, China
Explore the splendour of the Forbidden City in Beijing and find out about stories from its history and the objects kept in the museum housed in the palace.

Blenheim Palace, UK
Take a trip around the beautiful State Rooms and grounds of this famous country house, designated a World Heritage Site in 1987, with 360° virtual tours and an accompanying audio guide.

• The Queen’s Hamlet, France
https://en.chateauversailles.fr/long-read/ queens-hamlet#the-queens-house-and-the-stove-room
Take a tour around the Queen’s Hamlet in the Trianon Gardens at the Palace of Versailles and explore the small buildings built by Marie Antoinette as an escape from the grandeur of the Court.

Learning in lockdown

Find a selection of heritage- and history-based resources covering a wide range of subjects, from a curators’ introduction to a new exhibition at the British Museum, and a podcast about maritime history, to Twitter conferences and viral TikTok videos.


• DigVentures Digital Museum
Explore the objects and artefacts from DigVentures’ recent excavations in 3D, from a rare collection of early medieval sculpture from the north-east of England to the traces of a Romano-British cult found in Yorkshire’s caves.

Curators’ Introduction – Thomas Becket: murder and the making of a saint
Learn more about the murder that shook the Middle Ages in this video from the curators of Thomas Becket: murder and the making of a saint in which they introduce their new exhibition at the British Museum (see also p.42).

A Song in Stone: exploring Scotland’s Neolithic rock art
https://forestryandland.gov.scot/what-we-do/biodiversity- and-conservation/historic-environment-conservation/learning/ a-song-in-stone
Discover this learning resource about Scotland’s Neolithic rock art, produced by Forestry and Land Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, and the Kilmartin Museum.

• Museum of London YouTube
Enjoy an array of short videos on the Museum of London’s YouTube page, including tours around London’s lost rivers and World Docks, and insights into the conservation of artefacts in the museum’s collections.

Photo: Ewan Munro.


• Neanderthal in the Family
Enjoy this episode of the Big Picture Science podcast, in which several experts discuss how our understanding of Neanderthals has shifted over time and what we know about them now.

• The Mariner’s Mirror Podcast
The official podcast of the Society for Nautical Research presents the latest news and projects from maritime and naval history, including excavations of shipwrecks, and restoration of historic ships around the world.

• Time Team Returns
https://anchor.fm/the-past/episodes/Time-Team-returns- Carenza-Lewis-on-how-an-archaeological-institution-rose- to-dig-again-evpedk
Carenza Lewis discusses her memories of the legendary TV show and its long-awaited return in this episode of The PastCast podcast.

• Newsday: remembering America’s first ‘party city’
www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/ play/p09fs1yc
Find out more about Cahokia, which was the biggest city in North America before the arrival of European settlers, renowned for its parties and games.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Skubasteve834.

• Working Over Time
Discover more about past societies through the lens of work over time and across cultures, with this podcast hosted by Dr Karen Bellinger.


• Victoria & Albert Museum Instagram

Discover pictures and descriptions of objects, artworks, and other treasures from the extensive collections and latest exhibitions at the V&A.

• #ReliefWednesday
Find pictures of relief carvings on artefacts and structures around the world, posted on Twitter under this hashtag every Wednesday.

•The Postal Museum Instagram
Enjoy pictures of transport and everyday life in the past with photos from the archives on the Postal Museum’s Instagram.

• #MuseumWeek
Access social media content from cultural institutions during MuseumWeek 2021 (7-13 June) with a new hashtag every day.

• ArchaeoScience Twitter Conference
https://festival.archaeologyuk.org/events/ archaeoscience-twitter-conference-archmol21-1617986846
Attend this digital conference on 20 July by following the hashtag #ArchMoL21. This year’s theme is ‘Archaeology and STEM’.

• Uffizi Galleries TikTok
The Uffizi has attracted a large social media following with short videos on TikTok in which masterpieces are set to popular songs, used in current comedic trends, and visited by VIPs.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Rose HAN.

Family fun

Discover a variety of ways to keep the whole family occupied, from online games, craft activities, and programs that let you turn your home into an art gallery, to TV shows about the history of make-up, shipwrecks, or historic racing cars.


Crafting the Past
Discover more about Scotland’s history and archaeology with this new initiative from Dig It! and Immersive Minds, which allows you to download and explore maps of heritage sites in Minecraft.

Lincoln Castle
Find a variety of learning resources and activities from Lincoln Castle related to topics from its history, including Magna Carta, medieval castles, and the Victorian prison on the site.

Billy Wilson Photo: Karen Roe.

• Art Projector

Turn your home into an art gallery with this new feature from Google Arts & Culture which allows you to place paintings virtually in the spaces around you and explore them at your leisure.

• Abbey Snakes and Ladders
www.historicenvironment.scot/media/6264/ abbey-snakes-and-ladders.pdf
Play a special version of the classic board game, designed by Historic Environment Scotland, with the ups and downs that would have been faced by an abbey’s occupants, including raiders attacking, and the king and queen coming to visit.

• National Geographic
Enjoy a variety of online games based on topics related to nature and history on the National Geographic Kids website.

• Home Made History

http://sachistorymuseum.org/events/field-trips/ home-made-history
Get stuck into activities, games, videos, colouring pages, and more with these online resources from Sacramento History Museum, looking at different periods in the area’s history.


• World’s Greatest Shipwrecks
In this new series, shipwrecks from across the world are examined using cutting-edge maritime technology to reveal stories of triumph and tragedy at sea.

• Underground Worlds
https://uktvplay.uktv.co.uk/shows/underground-worlds/ watch-online
Discover some of the remarkable underground structures that have been built by humans, from military headquarters created beneath Dover Castle during the Second World War to a labyrinth of tunnels underneath a French village.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Karen Roe.

• Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson
Join Tony Robinson as he travels around the world by train, stopping to explore the history and culture of the places he visits along the way.

Blitz Spirit with Lucy Worsley
Find out more about what the Blitz was really like as Lucy Worsley explores the lives of six people who lived, worked, and volunteered during this turbulent period.

• Secrets of the Transport Museum
https://uktvplay.uktv.co.uk/shows/ secrets-of-the-transport-museum/watch-online
Go behind the scenes at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey and find out more about the extensive collection of historic racing cars, motorbikes, and planes that are housed there.

• Make-up: A Glamorous History
www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/m000vcc2/ makeup-a-glamorous-history
Explore how ideas about beauty and the way it was achieved varied over time with this series, which looks at make-up in the Georgian period, Victorian Britain, and the 1920s.

Open again

As government restrictions lift, many museums and heritage sites are beginning to reopen their doors to visitors. Guidelines do vary in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as in the Republic of Ireland, and some institutions are reopening at later dates, so be sure to check the details for individual sites before you visit. Here is a selection of some of the places that are now open again (details correct at time of going to press).


• Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands
Both Museum of London locations reopened to the public on 19 May, with several exhibitions extended, including the Havering Hoard: a Bronze Age mystery at the Museum of London Docklands (see CA 368), which will run until 22 August.

• National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland has now opened all of its galleries and exhibitions, including The Galloway Hoard: Viking-age treasure (see p.20), which will run until 12 September. Tickets are available online.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Paul Hudson.

• Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum is now open to visitors again. Admission is free but timed tickets must be booked in advance. Paid tickets are also available for the new exhibition, The Pre-Raphaelites: drawings and watercolours.

• British Museum
The British Museum has reopened most of its galleries, in addition to two new exhibitions: Nero: the man behind the myth and Thomas Becket: murder and the making of a saint. Tickets must be booked in advance.

• National Museum of Ireland
The Decorative Arts & History, Country Life, and Archaeology museums have all reopened to visitors, while the Natural History museum remains closed for ongoing works. Tickets must be pre-booked for the Archaeology museum.

• People’s History Museum
The People’s History Museum is now open 10am-4pm Wednesday-Sunday. Entry remains free, with a suggested donation of £5, but visitors must book timed entry slots.

• Wiltshire Museum

Wiltshire Museum has now reopened, with a new exhibition, Ways of Seeing Wiltshire, which examines the Wiltshire landscape – from chalk hill-figures to prehistoric remains – through artworks in the museum’s collection.


• Historic Royal Palaces
The Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace have reopened as of 17 May, with Kensington Palace to follow on 26 May, and Kew Palace on 4 June. Banqueting House will remain closed until further notice.

• Roman Baths
The Roman Baths are now open to visitors again, with safety precautions such as a one-way route in place. Capacity has been reduced and all tickets must be booked online in advance.

Many staffed sites across Wales have now reopened. Timed entry tickets for the open sites are released every Monday for the week ahead and must be booked before your visit.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Nilfanion.

• National Trust
National Trust houses across England and Wales have reopened from 17 May, and houses in Northern Ireland will follow from 24 May. Tickets for the upcoming week are available online.

• National Trust for Scotland
Many National Trust for Scotland properties have reopened this spring or will be open in the near future. Check the website for opening times and details of individual sites.

• Heritage Ireland
Heritage Ireland is gradually reopening historic places across the country; full details of proposed reopening dates are available on individual site pages. Pre-booking tickets is strongly recommended.