By Beth David, Editor
Several articles have been floating around with virtual tours of museums around the world. Google Arts & Culture has collected 2500 museums (https://artsandculture.google.com/ partner?hl=en) that you can visit virtually during your pandemic downtime. Since our Day Tripping series has been curtailed due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we decided to sample a few of the possibilities, and start with some local favorites.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum has launched “Museum from Home” (https://www.whalingmuseum.org/museum-from-home/), with this message: “If you are looking for things to do with your children, resources to keep students engaged, ways to spend your time learning about something new, or just taking a moment to enjoy our Collection from the comfort of your own home, please explore our links below.”
Possibilities include links to the “Lecture Gallery,” which leads to current and past lectures on a variety of subjects. Learn about Dutch Maritime Painting; photojournalism by Peter Pereira; Women in Public Arts; The World of William Bradford, a Fairhaven artist, by several different lecturers; the New Bedford glass museum; and many, many more.
Parents will also find science activities for kids, 15-second science videos; science-themed hands-on activities; a virtual field trip inside the whaling museum; collections “show and tell,” a behind the scenes look at exhibits.
Remember the hoopla about the grand panorama that was restored and took up a whole wall at the Kilburn Mill? You can see a digital version of it through a link on the Museum from Home website.
Also see “Portraits of a City,” an online exhibit of old photos from the Standard-Times collection, from the early 20th century (that’s like…1901).
New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center
The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center has an extensive collection of digital exhibits.
The “At Sea” exhibit includes groundfishing, scalloping, safety at sea, and audio of interviews of fishing industry professionals, including descriptions of fishing, a few fish stories, and storm stories.
The “On Shore” exhibit includes lots of fun information about shoreside workers, such as suppliers, fish buyers, processors, lumpers, welders, and more.
Audio includes stories from the Working Waterfront Festivals and the old fish auctions from the Wharfinger Building on Pier 3.
A history of the fishing industry in New Bedford includes a handy timeline from around 1900 to the 2010s.
The site also includes recent links to the Dock-u-Mentary series, including “Big Dreams from Karmoy to Hawaii: The Kaare Ness Story.”
New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks
The New Bedford Art Museum/ Artworks has created a virtual gallery that includes the new exhibit Teen Artist Internship Program (TAIP), with art from 16 teen artists.
The “Steppin’ Out” family guide includes activities for children.
The museum’s digital resources page invites visitors to explore their YouTube Channel, virtual exhibits, and to get creative with “Museum Dog and friends.” You can find art lessons and activities for children;
Other current exhibits include “She Persisted,” Women artists of New Bedford, 1900-2019; and “Excavation: Layers of Meaning,” which “digs into the layers of artworks made by ten Massachusetts artists.”
Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society
Learn the story of Manjiro Nakahama, a Japanese boy of 14 who was stranded on a desert island, was picked up by Fairhaven Whaling Captain William Whitfield, and brought back to Fairhaven.
Manjiro was the first Japanese person to live and be educated in the US. He eventually became instrumental in opening up Japan to the west and earned a last name. You can learn his story on the WMFS website and download a brochure for a self-guided tour of the Manjiro Trail.
Boston Children’s Museum
The Boston Children’s Museum has a treasure trove of activities, webinars, videos, storytime, and resources available for free on its website under the “Activities Archive.” You can sign up for a daily activities email for an activity you can work on with children, articles, and podcasts about play and learning at home during this time of social distancing.
The archive includes a video on how coins are made, what happens to paper after we recycle it, do-it-yourself activities, webinars for middle school students, music and dance videos, and special guest storytime.
Don’t be afraid to scroll past the first page, there are hundreds of possibilities on this delightful site.
Museum of Fine Arts “Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston has a variety of online events to enjoy from home, including music performances, distance learning classes, chats, talks and more. Click on “online events” on the home page to access.
Online exhibits are available on the Google Arts & Culture website at https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/museum-of-fine-arts-boston and include hundreds of images of the collections.
A free selection of videos includes curator talks, conversations with artists, and virtual tours.
Boston Museum of Science
Enjoy the Boston Museum of Science’s MOSatHome: Our building may be closed. But science never stops. And neither does the Museum of Science! Here’s a collection of STEM resources designed to bring the Museum — to you!
Content includes Daily Live Stream by museum educators with fun, presentations for the entire family; “STEM Beyond School” with tips on how to support STEM at home, webinars.
Virtual exhibits (https://www.mos. org/mos-at-home/virtual-exhibits) include “The Science Behind Pixar,” about movie animation; “Mystery Skulls,” identifying what animal skulls belong to; “Bird Flight Patterns,” learn to observe and recognize birds by their flight patterns; a digital coloring page, where you can download a page to color on paper, or color using digital tools online (wicked cool!).
New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium offers great variety in its virtual experience including animal webcams; presentations like a Blue Parrotfish Exam, a video on “mouthbrooding” (the fish holds the eggs in its mouth until they are ready to hatch). Animal cams include the Giant Ocean Tank, with a guide on when dive times are.
In archived episodes of “Fast Friday Facebook” you can learn about sharks, lanfish, sea jellies, dwarf seahorses and more.
This should get you started. Next time, we’ll go to some more exotic locales, and then maybe we’ll go to libraries and historical societies, some local, some not-so-local. They all have lots of interesting stuff on their websites.
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