Heritage from home – September 2021

Across the UK, many heritage sites and museums are now welcoming visitors again, but if you’re still looking for activities and resources that you can take advantage of from home, there is an ever-growing supply of those too! Current World Archaeology's Amy Brunskill has put together a selection of the options available, from virtual tours and online exhibitions to podcasts, TV shows, games, and activities, as well as a list of some of the places that are open once more.

Virtual visits

There is a huge array of resources available that allow you to visit museums and heritage sites around the world from the comfort of your own home, including online exhibits, virtual tours, and 360° views of locations ranging from museums in Scotland to ancient Maya sites in Guatemala.


• Royal Ontario Museum, Canada
Delve into the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum and discover more about natural and cultural history in Canada through online exhibitions and Google Street View.

• National Gallery Singapore
Explore the largest collection of art in South-east Asia using the gallery’s online resources, including virtual tours, online exhibitions, videos, podcasts, and digital collections.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, GordonMakryllos.

• Blairs Museum, Scotland
Take a virtual tour of Blairs Museum or explore objects in the Scottish Catholic Heritage Collections Trust museum, historic library, and archive with these new online resources.

• The Frick Collection, USA
Discover the masterpieces in the Frick Collection through a virtual tour of their temporary new home, explore the Frick’s historic buildings that are currently closed for renovation, or enjoy past exhibitions online.

• Museu Nacional, Brazil
Discover the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro through this Google Arts & Culture page, with online exhibits featuring highlights from the collection and virtual tours around key areas of the museum.

• Charge! The Story of England’s Northern Cavalry, England
Enjoy a 360° interactive virtual tour of this physical exhibition at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum and find out more about the 300-year history of England’s Northern Cavalry and its former regiments.

• Museo di Roma, Italy


• Quiriguá, Guatemala
Explore ancient Quiriguá and find out more about the Maya civilisation that created it through this online exhibition.

• Sagrada Família, Spain
Visit the Basílica de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona with this virtual tour that takes you around the façade and different areas inside, offering views of its unique architecture.

• Trajan’s Market, Italy
Discover the ruins of Trajan’s Market in Rome and explore the Museum of the Imperial Fora next to it with this online tour.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Jebulon.

• Huế, Vietnam
Enjoy a trip around the royal architecture of the Complex of Huê´ Monuments, with these 360° views of the Huê´ Citadel and the Tomb of Emperor Minh Ma·ng.

• Venice, Italy
www.google.co.uk/maps/about/behind-the-scenes/ streetview/treks/venice
Take a tour around Venice and discover its rich history through old maps and works of art that allow you to feel like you are stepping back in time, along with views of the modern streets and canals.

• The Grand Palace, Thailand
www.p4panorama.com/panos/ grand-palace-thailand-360-virtual-reality-tour
Explore this complex in the heart of Bangkok, discovering the buildings, courtyards, and gardens of the Grand Palace.

• Historic Homes, Wales
https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/whats-on/ virtual-visits/virtual-visits-historic-homes
Take a trip to several historic houses in Wales, including St Davids Bishop’s Palace, Plas Mawr Elizabethan townhouse, and Castell Coch with these virtual tours from Cadw.

Learning in lockdown

Find heritage-related resources ranging from an app giving a view of a Bronze Age Scottish settlement and an online exhibition about Roman remains in Britain and France, to podcasts on ancient myths and the Victorians, and social media content from archaeologists and global museums.


• Uist Unearthed
Explore the archaeology of the Outer Hebrides with this new Augmented Reality app, which takes you around the Bronze Age settlement of Cladh Hallan and shows you how it would have looked 3,000 years ago. More sites are to be added in the coming months.

• Heritage Open Days
Enjoy a variety of online and in-person events, resources, and activities from historical and cultural heritage organisations around England as part of the Heritage Open Days festival, which runs 10-19 September.

• Wessex Archaeology Webinars
Sign up for online talks and events from Wessex Archaeology, covering topics such as the connections between archaeology and folklore or the Bronze Age finds from Alfreton, Derbyshire.

• A History of English Places
Find out more about the history of different places around England using this map-based smartphone app, created by the Victoria County History project.

• Ancient Roman Ruins in England and France
Learn more about how the Romans left their mark in England and France with this Google Arts & Culture project, which takes you around the arches, forts, city walls, theatres, and towers they built.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Chabe01.


• This Union: The Ghost Kingdoms of England
Discover the story of four great Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England – East Anglia, Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex – and the legacy they left behind, in this four-part series.

• Myth Dynamite
Delve into ancient Greek and Roman myths with this podcast, which explores stories from the Classical world and their links with historical events and figures, and with the present day.

• The History Cache
Explore tales from the past with The History Cache podcast. It discusses historical figures and events ranging from ancient Egyptian kings to Victorian murderers and the Mona Lisa.

• History of Aotearoa New Zealand
Find out more about the history of New Zealand with this podcast, which follows the islands’ past from the time before the first arrival of people all the way up to the year 2000.

• Age of Victoria
Visit the world of the Victorians with this monthly podcast that chronologically tells the story of the changes and events of the 19th century through the eyes of the people who experienced it.

Photo: Adam Hill.


• #GiantObjectsOnMuseums
Explore this hashtag to discover pictures shared by museums, libraries, and archives from around the world featuring pictures of objects from their collections placed on top of their buildings.

• Palace of Versailles TikTok
The Palace of Versailles’ TikTok account shares short videos showing highlights from around the palace and gardens, as well as restoration projects and behind-the-scenes work.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Nono vlf.

• #TheDig2021
Search for this hashtag on Twitter to find daily updates from recent excavations at the site of Smallhythe, a small hamlet in Kent that was a prosperous medieval and Tudor shipbuilding centre.

• A Day in Archaeology
Discover a wealth of blog posts from people who work in many different fields of archaeology and heritage, taking you through a day in their life and along the paths they took to get to where they are now.

• The Art Institute of Chicago Instagram
Find out more about the many artworks and objects in the Art Institute of Chicago, with regular posts featuring highlights from the collection and historical photos, as well as a selection of archived Instagram stories.

Family fun

Discover a variety of activities to entertain the whole family, with online games, interactive apps, craft ideas, and activities to try out at home, or enjoy a selection of TV shows including recent documentaries and new series of your favourite shows, ranging from comedies to docu-dramas.


• Wreck Seeker
Have a go at being a maritime archaeologist with this online game from the Australian National Maritime Museum. It allows you to research, locate, and explore a shipwreck, and then create an exhibition about it.

• Art Selfie
Download the Google Arts & Culture app and take a selfie to find out which famous work of art from around the world looks like you.

• Cadw
https://cadw.gov.wales/learn/education/ teaching-resources/home-education-resources
Enjoy a range of activities and fun learning resources from Cadw, with comics and stories from Welsh history, instructions to build your own castle, online games for older children, and much more.

• Historic Environment Scotland
www.historicenvironment.scot/learn/learn-create-play/ #draw-colour_tab
Discover a selection of drawing activities and colouring sheets from HES, featuring Scottish UNESCO World Heritage sites and scenes and figures from Scotland’s history.

Photo: Iain Middleton-Duff..

• Fitzwilliam Museum
Find a variety of craft ideas and activities inspired by the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection. You can have a go at making an embossed coin, creating a salt dough Eye idol, designing your own museum, and more.

• Coventry Transport Museum
Try your hand at some engineering activities like making your own den or model car, or become the curator of your own mini museum, with these craft ideas from Coventry Transport Museum.


• Walking Tudor England
Professor Suzannah Lipscomb investigates the Tudor period by travelling around Britain, visiting the sites associated with the dynasty, from Hever Castle to Hampton Court Palace.

• Secrets of the Museum
Secrets of the Museum returns for a second season, going behind the scenes at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to uncover highlights of the collections, ongoing conservation work, and preparations for new exhibitions.

Enjoy the third season of this BBC comedy series, created by the team behind Horrible Histories, in which a young couple inherit an old country house filled with the ghosts of characters from the past.

• The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family
This three-part documentary/drama series tells the tale of the Tudor period through the lens of the Boleyn family and their journey to the heart of the royal court.

• Ian Hislop’s Trains that Changed the World
Find out more about the history of railways through the story of four British-built trains that revolutionised rail travel, and the impact they had around the world.

• Secrets of the Royal Palaces
Discover more about the palaces across Britain that belong to the royal family, including Buckingham Palace, Sandringham House, Balmoral Castle, and more.

Photo: David McKelvey.

Open again

Over the last few months, many museums and heritage sites around the UK and Ireland have reopened their doors. Here are some more of the places that you can now visit in person, several of which have undergone redevelopment or opened new exhibitions, while others have recently changed their ticket policies in accordance with new local COVID-19 guidelines.


• Victoria & Albert Museum Dundee
The V&A Dundee has now reopened, Thursday to Monday, with several new displays and exhibitions. Free tickets must be booked in advance, and separate paid tickets are required for the Night Fever exhibition.

Photo: Rosser1954.

• St Fagans National Museum of History
St Fagans is now open to visitors again, with COVID-19 precautions in place and reduced visitor numbers. Entry remains free, but tickets must be booked in advance.

• Sir John Soane’s Museum
The museum is now open to visitors, Wednesday to Sunday, with free timed entry tickets available to book online, and COVID-19 safety precautions in place.

• Fitzwilliam Musuem
The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge is open again, with several new displays and a new exhibition, Gold of the Great Steppe, opening on 28 September. Please note that advance booking is required.

• Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/venues/ kelvingrove-art-gallery-and-museum
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has reopened to the public, but visitors are advised that pre-booking is required.

• Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum
The museums that make up Waterford Treasures, telling the story of Ireland’s medieval history, are now open to visitors again. Tickets can be booked online.


• Cadw
More heritage sites across Wales have now reopened, and as of 9 August pre-booking tickets is no longer compulsory – however, it is recommended that visitors continue to book tickets before visiting to guarantee entry.

• Hever Castle & Gardens
The Castle and Gardens at Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s childhood home, are now open again. Advance booking is no longer essential, but is still recommended.

Photo: Christoph Matthias Siebenborn

• Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle is now open to visitors again. Tickets for the following week are released online every Monday and cost £12.50 for adults, with concessionary prices available.

• Historic Environment Scotland
Further HES sites have reopened across Scotland, including Dunstaffnage Castle, Whithorn Priory and Museum, and Duff House. Advance booking is still advised.

• Wordsworth Grasmere
Dove Cottage, where William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived in the early 19th century, has been restored to recreate their home, and the adjacent Wordsworth Museum has been expanded.

• Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle and Knight’s Village has now reopened to visitors, although some enclosed areas remain closed or have limited visitor numbers. Tickets must be pre-booked.


Archaeology in and around Berkshire
Saturday 2 October 2021, 10am-4pm
The Cornerstone, Norreys Avenue, Wokingham RG40 1UE

This year is the 150th anniversary of the Berkshire Archaeological Society, and the anniversary is the focus of their annual conference. The talks will include: recent finds around the county; recent discoveries at the Roman Baths, Silchester; the Berkshire Archaeological Society: 150 years; the Sonning Palace dig of 1924; Reading Abbey – the archaeological surveys of the 1970s compared with the 2016 GPR survey; and Roman Abingdon.
All are welcome, with no advance booking required. Cost: £10, payable at the door.