Virginia History at Home: Educational Resources from Museums and Historic Sites

by Andrew Cothern | Posted: Apr 9, 2020 | Updated: Apr 22, 2020

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While children are staying at home, Virginia museums and historical sites are providing online educational opportunities to keep everyone learning. From interactive classes and online courses to puzzles and games, here are some fun ways to virtually educate and entertain kids while social distancing.

Virginia residents and history lovers can access 400 years of Virginia history through the Virginia History Trails mobile app. Curated by the Library of Virginia and Virginia Humanities, the app contains more than 400 stories and more than 200 historic places. Users can immerse themselves in a themed trail that winds across the Commonwealth or employ the app’s GPS feature to find nearby historical sites and immediately transform their surroundings into a live history experience.

 

Colonial Williamsburg offers learners and other enthusiasts a new way to experience America’s shared story at home with the introduction of the Colonial Williamsburg streaming channel. The debut of the new channel, free on enabled devices through Amazon Fire TV or Roku TV accounts, can be found in the “Educational” category on Amazon Fire TV and Roku TV, offering a growing library of curated video content from the past and present in one easy-to-view location. Colonial Williamsburg’s Explore From Home series includes downloadable activity sheets, DIY Colonial crafts, online Historic Foodways Colonial recipes, a new interactive timeline and more.

Monticello will be presenting a special livestream with Thomas Jefferson on Monday, April 13, at 10:30 a.m., on its Facebook page. Mr. Jefferson, interpreted by Bill Barker, will be discussing his birthday, life in public service, and taking questions from viewers. Viewers can submit questions for Mr. Jefferson in the comments of our announcement on Facebook.

As part of its Black History at Home program, the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia is encouraging people to experience Black history and engage with family and share their stories the museum’s social channels.

The Virginia Museum of History and Culture is offering Virginia History at Home, including webinars, lectures, student learning resources and podcasts.

The National D-Day Memorial is offering online education, including lesson plans and activities, virtual programs, online lunchbox lectures and virtual tours of the Memorial.

 

James Madison’s Montpelier has publicly accessible blog posts, websites, podcasts, online courses on subjects including “The Mere Distinction of Colour,” exhibit, the enslaved community, the Constitution, archaeology, or James Madison himself.

The George Washington Foundation’s online educational offerings has plenty of educational resources to keep children entertained, including puzzles, games and coloring pages.

The Louisa County Historical Society has converted spring family programs to at home lesson plans with historical education and fun, hands-on crafts and activities with basic supplies families will have at home. Lesson plans and activities include a module on Virginia women’s history and a module of fun crafts to alleviate boredom.

 

History In Our Back Yard is a living and growing series of articles written by Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield and designed to share the history of the Wilderness with the residents who live in and around this hallowed ground. These brief glimpses into the Wilderness’ history are intended to encourage residents of all ages living in and around Spotsylvania and Orange Counties to learn and appreciate the significant impact that this area has had on our local and national history.

The Waynesboro Heritage Foundation preserves and houses a collection of thousands of artifacts including textiles, photographs, books, maps, historical documents, industrial artifacts, railroad artifacts, furniture, and more.

The Salem Museum & Historical Society presents “Visits by Video,” two new series by the Museum’s assistant director, Alex Burke. White Glove Wednesday tells stories behind objects in the Museum’s collections. Around Town goes outside for a look at Salem landmarks as well as unexpected spots “around town” that hold more history than one might expect.

The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum is offering online, farm-related activities including facts about farm life, games, puzzles and other children’s activities.

The Clarke County Historical Association has a wealth of online content for people of all ages to enjoy including history challenges, behind the scenes video tours, puzzles, oral histories, archivist’s blog, online tutorials and more.

 

The American Civil War Museum’s new HomefrontEd website is full of virtual Civil War education including book readings, daily activities and educator resources for students at home.

The Wytheville Museum is offering video versions of many of its school programs including the Learning Polio Tour, Egg Dyeing, Heath Cooking, Paper Marbling and more. New videos are added every Tuesday and Friday.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps’ online distance learning include a plethora of virtual learning experiences and subject matter for people to learn important and interesting topics related to the Marine Corps.

Every weekday at noon, George Washington’s Mount Vernon is going live on Facebook and YouTube for Mansion Mondays, Teaching Tuesdays, Washington Wednesdays, Tranquil Thursdays and Casual Fridays, in addition to the Washington Library’s digital resources for students and teachers including lesson plans and coloring sheets.

Alexandria’s Carlyle House hosts “Discovery Through Trash” videos on its social media channels. Each video will reveal fragments of a centuries-old artifact found in the house’s trash pit. Viewers can try to guess the whole artifact, then be surprised as a box is lifted to reveal the object in its entirety.

 

jamestown ships

The Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is enhancing revolutionary history with interactive digital learning experiences like the Legacy Wall and the “How Revolutionary Are You?” quiz. The museums offer a variety of online resources at History is Fun at Home to visit the museums virtually through mobile apps, blogs, interactives, videos, colonial recipes, coloring pages as well as curriculum-based lesson plans and live educational webcasts for teachers and students learning from home.

The Office of Historic Alexandria’s #HistoricALX2U series shares daily historic activities for learners of all ages, like ship biscuit-making, recipes and coloring sheets.

The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace is doing weekly online chats with their curator or educator about different history topics. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library is offering free online tours where users can ask the guide questions via a chat room, which will be answered in real-time, making for an interactive and unique experience.

 

Looking for more virtual activities? We’ve got some ideas for creative learning activities for kids, exploring wildlife from home, live entertainment and education options and virtual tours at some of Virginia’s best attractions.
 

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