Heritage from home: August 2021

Many heritage sites and museums in the UK, Ireland, and other countries around the world have now reopened their doors to visitors, but there are still plenty of ways to get involved in history and heritage from home this summer as well. Current World Archaeology's Amy Brunskill has put together a variety of options below, from video tours of recent exhibitions to online webinars, social media trends, and craft activities, as well as a round-up of some of the places that are open again.

Virtual visits

From new digital museums and video tours of physical exhibitions to 360° models of heritage sites and online exhibits about historical locations, heritage organisations are constantly finding new ways to enable you to visit these places virtually and learn more about the past from home.


Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico
Discover more about the history and indigenous heritage of Mexico in the National Museum of Anthropology using this Google Arts & Culture page, which includes online exhibits and Google Street View access.

Nero: the man behind the myth, England
Enjoy a curator-led tour around the British Museum’s new exhibition, offering a more nuanced view of the notorious emperor, in this video from the museum’s YouTube channel.

Capitoline Museums, Italy
Explore the Capitoline Museums in Rome with this virtual tour, which allows you to move around the museum, explore the galleries in detail, and discover additional information about pieces in its collection.

Photo: faungg’s photos.

Silk Road Online Museum, China
Explore a digital collection of artefacts related to the Silk Road from museums around the world, as well as virtual tours of physical exhibits, and exhibitions designed entirely for online 3D spaces.

Museo Galileo, Italy
Find out more about the historical scientific instruments housed in the Museo Galileo, the former Institute and Museum of the History of Science, with virtual room tours, videos, and information about the collections.

Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Spain
Take a virtual tour of the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid and learn about the 13,000 objects in its collection, or explore themes such as the archaeology of death, music in the museum, and the history of conservation and restoration.


Petra, Jordan
Take a trip to the 2,000-year-old city of stone with this narrated tour that takes you from the entrance to the Siq, through the mile-long gorge, past Al-Khaznah (the Treasury), and up to Ad Deir (the Monastery).

Image: Wikimedia Commons, Graham Racher.

Roman Remains, Wales
Discover life in Roman Wales with a new virtual visit to Caerleon Amphitheatre, as well as an existing tour of the late Roman settlement at Din Lligwy Hut Group.

• Tikal, Guatemala
Enjoy aerial views of the Maya temples and monumental structures that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the surrounding Tikal National Park.

Portchester Castle, England
Find out more about the history of Portchester Castle in Hampshire, and its transformation from Roman fort to military prison, with this online exhibit from Google Arts & Culture.

Lascaux Cave, France
Explore the Palaeolithic art of Lascaux cave through a guided tour, and find out more about the site’s discovery, conservation, and research.

Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
Visit Bulgaria’s largest Eastern Orthodox monastery through a selection of 360° images, and experience the colourful architecture of the 10th-century dwelling and tomb of St John of Rila.

Learning in lockdown

Discover a selection of archaeology-, history-, and heritage-related resources available online, encompassing everything from a digital heritage mapping project to Classics-themed stand-up comedy, a podcast about maritime archaeology, and TikTok accounts bringing the past to life.


Learn more about the history of art and cultural heritage around the world through a wealth of learning resources spanning many different periods and encompassing a huge variety of cultures and locations.

• Reviving the Past
Discover some of the 19th-century buildings around the world that have borrowed and reinterpreted architectural styles from history with this tour from Google Arts & Culture.

Know Your Place – West of England
Explore the history of locations around the west of England, including Bath, Bristol, Devon, and Somerset, with this digital heritage mapping project using historic maps and collections.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, xiquinhosilva.

National Museum of Ireland
Discover a selection of online events, workshops, and talks from the National Museum of Ireland, covering everything from megalithic rock art to the impact of climate change on coastal cultural heritage.

Working Classicists
Find resources to help you study Classical texts, epigraphy, and atlases, as well as ancient Greek and Latin, with Working Classicists, a website created to help make Classics accessible to a wider audience.


• Dive & Dig
Discover a new podcast from the Honor Frost Foundation, presented by Professor Bettany Hughes and Dr Lucy Blue, and find out more about underwater cultural heritage and maritime archaeology.

Time Travels
Explore stories from Scotland’s past in this show from BBC Radio Scotland, with episodes covering topics from the 1849 Gold Rush to dogs’ lives in the 17th century.

Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics
Enjoy a fresh look at the ancient world through stand-up routines by Natalie Haynes about figures from ancient Greece and Rome including Homer, Helen of Troy, Medusa, and many more.

• The History of Persia
Learn more about the history of Persia and the empires that ruled modern Iran between 700 BC and AD 700, from the Achaemenids up to the rise of Islam.

Wikimedia Commons, Carole Raddato

Queens Podcast
Find out more about women in history and discover stories from the past told from a female perspective, ranging from Queen Lili‘uokalani of Hawaii to Emma of Normandy.


Victoria & Albert Museum TikTok
The V&A Museum’s TikTok account presents information about objects in their collections and the stories behind them, as well as showcasing highlights using current popular trends and music.

Find images and posts about fascinating examples of archaeological wood from around the world with this weekly hashtag on Twitter.

Ancient Herstories
Discover the stories of women from all walks of life in antiquity through this blog, which draws on various sources to piece together information about ordinary women in the ancient Mediterranean.

Timeline – World History TikTok
Enjoy short videos about historical topics, mini interviews with historians, and clips of film from the past with this TikTok account.

Bristol Museums Instagram
Explore pictures, videos, and information from museums and galleries around Bristol, and find out about archaeological excavations and recipes from the past with archived Instagram stories.

Wikimedia Commons, Carole Raddato

Family fun

Entertain the whole family with a range of games and craft activities, or sit down to watch a selection of history- and heritage-related documentaries, both old and new. Make a Lego model of a Welsh castle, find out about life in a Roman fort through a digital game, or go behind the scenes at National Trust properties, historic royal palaces, and London Underground stations.


Make a mini-replica
Use these resources from Cadw to create a mini replica of your favourite Welsh castle out of Lego. Choose from Conwy Castle, Tintern Abbey, Castell Coch, and more.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nilfanion.

• Go Roman
Download this digital game to explore a reconstructed Roman fort on the Antonine Wall and find out more about the people who lived there almost 2,000 years ago.

Trowel & Error
Have a go at organising an archaeological dig with this new digital game developed by Barnsley Museum for the Festival of Archaeology.

Harborough Museum
Discover a selection of activities from Harborough Museum, including designing your own coin, creating a Roman cavalry helmet, excavating a muffin, and more.

Rusty’s Adventures
Join Rusty the dog as he travels back in time with downloadable learning packs and online resources from Weston Museum, featuring activities exploring different historical periods.

Dig & Discover
Enjoy dot-to-dot and colouring-in pages or try your hand at an online quiz testing your knowledge about the archaeological artefacts discovered in Lincolnshire.

TV shows

Secrets of the London Underground
Delve into the history of disused stations on the London Underground network with this new documentary, produced in partnership with the London Transport Museum.

Kensington Palace: Behind Closed Doors
Enjoy a new two-part documentary series which takes an intimate look at Kensington Palace, exploring everything from Diana, Princess of Wales’ iconic wardrobe to recent conservation projects at the palace.

Secrets of the Celtic Grave
This new documentary presents the story of an incredible 2,000-year-old chariot burial discovered in Pembrokeshire in 2018, following the object’s excavation and the latest scientific tests.

Treasures of the British Library
Join celebrities and famous faces as they select the objects that they believe to be the most important in the British Library’s collections.

Secrets of the National Trust
Visit some of Britain’s most intriguing historical homes and gardens in this show, which offers an insider’s view into National Trust properties like Penrhyn Castle, Ham House, and Kingston Lacy.

The Violence Paradox
Are we currently living in the most peaceful period in human existence? This is the question that psychologist Steven Pinker attempts to ask in this documentary, which traces the social and neurobiological roots of human violence.

Wikimedia Commons, Vauxford.

Open again

Over the summer, many museums and heritage sites around the UK and Ireland have reopened their doors. Some have undergone redevelopments, others have opened new exhibitions, and all are happy to welcome visitors back again! Here is a selection of some of the places that you can now go and visit in person.


National Museum Wales
All seven locations run by National Museum Wales have now reopened. Free tickets must be booked in advance. Please check individual museum websites for details.

Science Museum
The Science Museum is now open Wednesday to Sunday, with several new exhibitions opening this summer and autumn, including Brass, Steel and Fire, the story of locomotive engineering.

• The Wallace Collection
Visitors can now explore the Wallace Collection again, as well as a new exhibition on Rubens’ greatest landscape paintings, open now. Online booking of timed tickets in advance is highly recommended.

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
The Potteries Museum in Staffordshire has now reopened to visitors. The museum’s Spitfire RW388 will be back on display later this summer after restoration, but for now you can still enjoy the rest of the collections, including objects from the Staffordshire Hoard.

• Manchester Jewish Museum
The museum is open again, following a huge redevelopment project. Tickets are on sale for timed entry, with limited capacity throughout August.

National Museums Liverpool
All National Museums Liverpool locations are now open Tuesday to Sunday and bank holidays. You no longer need to pre-book a ticket, but visitor numbers are restricted to allow for social distancing.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons, David Dixon.


Historic Environment Scotland
More historic sites across Scotland are reopening their doors, including Duff House, Dumbarton Castle, and Maeshowe visitor centre. Tickets should be booked online in advance.

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
Northern Ireland’s royal residence is open to visitors, as are all other Historic Royal Palaces locations, except for Banqueting House, which remains closed for the time being. Tickets must be booked in advance.

Photo: David in Lisburn.

Further historical and heritage sites across Wales have now reopened, including Blaenavon Ironworks, Tintern Abbey, and Tretower Court and Castle. Tickets for the following week are released every Monday.

Lewes Castle & Museum
Lewes Castle and the adjoining Museum of Sussex Archaeology are now open again. Tickets are required, but do not need to be booked in advance.

Navan Centre & Fort
Navan Centre and Fort is now open to visitors Tuesday to Sunday. All tours will take place in line with current guidelines and must be pre-booked.

Creswell Crags
Creswell Crags is open to visitors again. Cave tours must be booked in advance, but pre-booking is not required for the museum exhibition or walks around the gorge.

Heritage Ireland
Heritage Ireland have now reopened many more sites across the country, and admission charges to all fee-paying OPW sites are being waived until the end of 2021. Check individual location websites for information about booking.