Heritage from home: May

With restrictions lifting around the UK and outdoor sites reopening, we hope it won’t be long until we can visit museums and indoor heritage sites again. For now, Amy Brunskill has put together another selection of ways to get involved in history, heritage, and archaeology at home, from virtual tours of sites around the world to podcasts and social media trends, craft activities, TV shows, and more.

Virtual visits

There is an ever-expanding selection of online offerings from museums and heritage sites across the globe, as well as some great museums that only exist digitally. Whatever you’re interested in – whether it’s the thousands of artefacts in the Louvre or the Roman site of Baalbek in Lebanon – there’s sure to be something for you below.


• The Louvre, France
https://collections.louvre.fr/en/ page/apropos
The Louvre has recently launched a new online platform featuring the museum’s whole collection, so you can now browse all of its 480,000 artworks and artefacts from around the world.

Photo: Dennis Jarvis.

• National Library of Wales
Find out about many different aspects of Welsh history with the Library’s extensive collection of books and newspapers, film and video, photographs, works of art, manuscripts, audio recordings, maps, and other archive material.

• Southern Plains Museum and Cultural Center, USA
www.apachemuseum.org/ southern-plains-museum-and-cultural-center.html
Discover a new virtual museum created to replace the physical Southern Apache Museum, which was closed in 2017, and learn more about the history and traditions of the Native American people living around Houston.

• National Museum of Indonesia
https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/ museum-nasional-indonesia
Take a walk around the Museum Nasional Indonesia with Google Street View, or investigate some of the objects in its extensive collections via online galleries and exhibits.

• Kotsanas Museum, Greece
Explore the inventions that laid the foundations for many of the innovations at the heart of modern civilisation, in this digital walkthrough of the museum of ancient Greek technology.

• Heritage Malta: Classical Sculpture
Delve into this online catalogue, which brings together all of the Graeco-Roman sculptures currently owned by the Maltese National Collections, under the care of Heritage Malta.

• National Museum of Denmark
https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/ national-museum-of-denmark
Learn more about the history of Denmark with online exhibits about dress in the 18th-20th century and clothing in Greenland, collections of objects, and Street View access to the main museum in Copenhagen.


• Batalha Monastery, Portugal
Find out about this 14th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site with online exhibitions and virtual tours exploring the architecture and history of the Batalha Monastery.

• Baalbek Reborn: Temples, Lebanon
Take a virtual tour around the Roman temples of Baalbek, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lebanon. See the site as it is now, listen to expert commentary about its history, and travel back in time with digital reconstructions.

Photo: courtesy of and copyright 2020 Annewies van den Hoeck.

• Mantua, Italy

https://artsandculture.google.com/project/ mantova-capitale-della-cultura
Discover the cultural treasures of Mantua, with videos, virtual tours, and online exhibitions covering everything from ancient monuments to works of art, sculpture, and architecture.

• Chauvet-Pont d’Arc Cave, France
Discover the Palaeolithic art of Chauvet Cave through a virtual tour of the original cave, learn about its discovery and the project to make a replica, and explore the art and the society that created it.

Diamantina, Brazil
Visit the historic centre of Diamantina and see the 18th- and 19th-century buildings that line its streets, built by the diamond prospectors who were responsible for the city’s expansion.

• Criccieth Castle, Wales
https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/whats-on/virtual-visits/ virtual-visits-medieval-forts/virtual-visits-criccieth-castle
Explore the ruins of Criccieth Castle in North Wales with this 3D tour, the first of seven Welsh heritage sites and landmarks to be released as part of Cadw’s new series of ‘virtual visits’.

Preserving Afghan Heritage
https://artsandculture.google.com/project/ preserving-afghan-heritage
Learn more about the art, architecture, and history of Afghanistan with this online exhibition about the country’s rich culture, traditional crafts, and buildings, and the people and stories behind them.

Learning in lockdown

Discover a wide variety of ways to get involved in archaeology and history at home, from online exhibits about the history of New York and the Inca empire to podcasts about Neanderthals and TikTok accounts and Twitter content from museums around the world.

• The Women of Scotland
www.historicenvironment.scot/archives-and-research/ online-exhibitions/the-women-of-scotland
Explore the stories and achievements of the women who shaped Scotland’s history, from pioneers in science and engineering, to important activists and royalty.

• Time Explorer
Discover thousands of objects and artworks in the Google Arts & Culture collections using the ‘Time Explorer’ feature, which allows you to navigate by time period and find listings from whichever part of human history interests you.

• New-York Historical Society
Find out more about different aspects of the history of New York and the USA with online exhibitions on subjects ranging from the Vietnam War to the development of computers.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Ajay Suresh.

The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire
Explore the route linking the administrative capital of Cusco to the farthest reaches of the Inca empire, with this online exhibit from the National Museum of the American Indian.

Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates
Learn more about the influence that landed estates have had on the history, culture, landscapes, and politics of Wales from the medieval period to the present day, through the online resources of the ISWE research centre.


• PastCast
Enjoy this podcast from The Past, a new website from the team behind Current Archaeology and its sister-magazines, with recent episodes covering topics such as the Mary Rose, Thomas Becket, and the recent Netflix film, The Dig.

History behind the Headlines
https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/ history-behind-the-headlines/id1500129076
Discover this new podcast, which explores how history has affected current events, aiming to provide a better understanding of the past in the hope it will help us to tackle present and future problems.

• The Reunion: Finding Richard III
This episode brings together archaeologists, scientists, a religious leader, and a distant relative, all of whom were involved in the search for and identification of Richard III, whose remains were famously discovered under a Leicester car park in 2012 (see CA 272 and 277).

• A Brief History of Stuff
www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/ brief-history-stuff-podcast
Find out more about the extraordinary stories behind the everyday objects around you, from bath toys to vacuum cleaners, in this new podcast from the Science Museum.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Shadowssettle.

• The Lost World of Neanderthals
Brian Cox talks to Rebecca Wragg Sykes about our understanding of Neanderthals and how this has changed since our ancient relatives were first identified more than 160 years ago.


Discover a variety of weird and wonderful objects from museums and heritage organisations around the UK, and find out who won this Twitter competition hosted by Egham Museum.

• Sacramento History Museum TikTok
Enjoy many entertaining and informative videos from the museum, including those starring ‘Howard the Printer’, a volunteer who became a viral TikTok star with his short clips sharing information about historic printing presses.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Janannwa.

• The British Museum Instagram
Find a wealth of photos of objects in the British Museum’s collections and learn more about their histories, as well as the excavations and conservation projects in which the museum is currently involved.

• #EpigraphyTuesday
This Twitter hashtag allows you to browse inscriptions and engravings on archaeological objects from around the world, with artefacts from Roman tombstones to lead ingots posted each Tuesday.

• The Oriental Institute Instagram
Explore some of the artefacts from the ancient Middle East housed in the collection of this leading research centre on their Instagram page, featuring a variety of objects and old photographs, as well as the Institute’s latest news and updates on events.

• Rijksmuseum TikTok
Watch a selection of short videos from the national museum of the Netherlands, featuring artworks and artefacts in their collection, and the impressive building in which these objects are held.

Family fun

Discover a great selection of craft ideas, games, and activities for the whole family, from making your own prehistoric art to competing for a job in a medieval castle, or enjoy TV shows, both old and new, covering everything from underwater archaeology to the story of the Romanov dynasty.


• Palaeolithic Activity Pack
Download this activity pack from the Young Archaeologists’ Club and Ice Age Journeys, and find out how to make a Palaeolithic-style hand stencil, try your hand at soap-knapping, or put together an animal bone jigsaw.

• Can You Guess the Museum?
Have a go at this new Google Arts & Culture challenge to find out more about five famous museums – using Google Street View, see if you can work out where you are.

• Royal Museums Greenwich

Find a wide variety of activities and craft ideas from the museums that make up RMG, anything from making a ship in a bottle to creating a sea monster sock puppet.

Wikimedia Commons, Katie Chan.

That Job is History!
www.historicenvironment.scot/media/6289/ that-job-is-history.pdf
Get stuck into this improvisation game from Historic Environment Scotland which puts your quick-thinking, reasoning, and speaking skills to the test as you compete for a job in a medieval castle.

• Wallace Collection
Have a go at making your own medieval armour or shadow- puppet theatre, play a tabletop jousting game, or try turning classical paintings into a comic strip with these resources from the Wallace Collection.

• Egypt Centre
Discover a variety of crafts, activities, and resources related to ancient Egypt, from instructions for a mummification experiment to colouring sheets, jigsaws, and finger-puppet templates.


• River Hunters
Join Beau Ouimette and Rick Edwards for the second season of River Hunters, as they carry out underwater archaeological digs and discover the history hidden in rivers and waterways around the UK.

• 10 Ways the Victorians Changed Britain
Discover how Britain as we know it was transformed by the Victorians, with changes to everything from sewers and bridges to hospitals and ships, in this condensed version of Michael Buerk’s earlier series.

Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley
Explore the story of the Romanovs, the dynasty that ruled Russia for more than three centuries, from their early achievements and conflicts to the revolutionary upheaval that led to their violent overthrow.

• Sacred Wonders
Find out about different expressions of faith in some of the most spectacular sacred places in the world in this documentary series, which visits sites from the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia to the Shaolin Temple in China.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Sam Garza.

Secret Scotland with Susan Calman
Visit some of Scotland’s most famous locations and find out about the rich history and culture surrounding ancient sites, industrial heritage, and natural landscapes around the country.

• Coal House
See how three 21st-century families cope with being transported back to a Welsh mining village in 1927 in this living history reality series from 2007, now available again on BBC iPlayer.