Something to keep the mind busy at home, for young and old!
By Alexis Veenendaal
Most of us are stuck indoors during this pandemic, and you might be wondering how you can still explore the wonderful culture outside of your living room. So, why not let your boredom be replaced by a virtual, interactive experience? You can see thousands of famous art pieces and be transported out of your home and into the virtual halls of a famous museum.
With kids out of school, this is an educational opportunity to get your kids involved in the interactive experience. But there’s more, with various publishers, film-studios, cultural institutions; and scientific institutions putting thousands of hours of content online for young and old.
Museums and Galleries
Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 2500 museums and galleries worldwide to share exhibits in virtual tours. Visit the Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, plus many others internationally.
You can enter a virtual tour of the pieces by the iconic artist, Vincent van Gogh, via the Van Gogh Museum. This museum hosts the largest collection of works by van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam also has a virtual walk-through. You can explore works from the Dutch Golden Age, including the works of Vermeer and Rembrandt. Tour through this museum’s halls with Google’s Street View tour.
Paris Museés, the organisation that links the incredible collection of museums and galleries in Paris has made images of all of its art freely available online. There’s no better place to get inspiration for your own sketches, paintings, or sculptures than here!
A little spot of culture
It’s not just museums in the Netherlands – it’s worldwide! And when you’re done exploring some of Google’s top museums, you can also sit in on the New York’s Metropolitan Opera’s digital show offerings every evening until 22 March.
OpenCulture also has an enormous library of content, from kids activities, to short films on the arts, e-books, and more.
A number of publishers and authors are making their books available (temporarily) for free. A broad list is available here, whilst the Cambridge University Press is also offering free access to its library of highly-regarded textbooks and scholastic resources. The British Library has, for over 1,000 years, been legally mandated to receive a copy of every book published in the United Kingdom. It has a huge range of online resources, that are now available for free.
Tell me a story!
Similar to the various publishers and libraries, audiobook companies have been making their content available more widely. Audible (owned by Amazon) has made its books, stories, and poetry available in six languages for free. Storyline Online has made its collection of children’s audiobooks and stories available for free, and includes narrators such as Betty White, James Earl Jones, and Kevin Costner.
Stuck inside, but eye-to-eye with a tiger!
Significant numbers of animal parks, reserves, and zoos around the world have live-cams, so you can get a glimpse into such places as the Djuma Game Reserve in the world-famous Kruger Park in South Africa. Others include the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC has a Giant Panda cam (amongst others), the San Diego Zoo has several, including a ‘Polar Cam’. Groningen’s own Zeehondcentrum Pieterburen has a live stream of its Seal pool.
The Three R’s
Though schools in the Netherlands may be closed (aside from for children of key workers) that doesn’t mean that learning has to stop. Most schools have also provided online lessons or take-home assignments, but to supplement these, Scholastic (a US-based publisher) has made its ‘learn at home’ materials available for free. National Geographic Kids has hundreds of hours of content on everything animal-related, whilst Seussville (the online site for the Dr. Seuss series of books) has several read-along stories and phonetic exercises.
Additional reporting for this piece (with great thanks!) by Ella Zuidema-Piepers