Disappointed that we can’t go on any trips this year?!
Below are some fantastic virtual tours that you can enjoy at home. Just because we are in lockdown, doesn’t mean we can’t head to the museum!
Please let the history department know if there is a virtual tour that you would like to be added.
Please write a review– The History department would like to know your thoughts on your History trip. Email us a review – say what you enjoyed about the virtual tour, what you found most interesting and why others should visit it.
The British Museum houses some of the most famous artefacts from across the world (and across time) – and now you can stroll through the museum online. As well as virtually roaming the museum’s galleries, you can also look in depth at their collections. From the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles to Hoa Hakananai’a – the moai statue from Easter Island – there are priceless objects from a wealth of civilisations waiting to be explored. Take their virtual tour now and discover two million years of human history.
The Olympic Museum is not about collections! It’s about an idea: Olympism. Indeed, TOM’s vocation is to let people discover the Olympic Movement, witnessing its essential contribution to society, and to transmit the Olympic values beyond the celebration of the Games and competitions. Sport is, of course, the main element of a visit to The Olympic Museum. However, history, culture, design, technology and sociology are also some of the themes addressed within this new museography, which reflects the richness and diversity of Olympism.
Run by the Smithsonian Institution, this venerable edifice is one of the most visited natural history museums in the world. Go online to take a walk through the exhibits, which range from the dinosaurs that used to roam America (including a 11.6m-long Tyrannosaurus rex), the world-famous (and quite unusually blue) Hope Diamond and a fossilised Neanderthal.
The Tyrannosaurus rex on display was found in 1988. It’s unusual in that more than 80 per cent of its skeleton was uncovered.
Standing in the ground of the former royal palace of the same name, the Louvre Museum is the largest art museum in the world. In just a few clicks of a mouse, you could be admiring the opulent Grand Salon in the apartments of Napoleon III before casting your gaze on the sculptures of the Ancient Greeks. In addition to its most famous resident – Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’– the Louvre houses one of the world’s largest Egyptian collections, a combination of objects from the French royal collection, as well as from Napoleon’s Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign in 1798. This latter campaign led to the discovery of thousands of artefacts and gave birth to Europe’s fascination with Egypt and the rise of Egyptology.
It was one of the most stunning archaeological finds of the 20th century. In 1974, farmers digging a well stumbled across a life-sized clay figure that, government archaeologists later discovered, belonged to a vast army of terra cotta soldiers created to protect China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in the afterlife. The massive mausoleum, created around 210 B.C., houses some 8,000 warriors, along with hundreds of chariots and horses—all arranged in battle formation. In 2017, a Chinese company, inspired by Google Street View, created an awe-inspiring virtual experience that lets visitors swoop down into the tomb and “walk” among the soldiers, viewing their unique facial expressions and traces of their original colourful paint at close range. You don’t need to read Chinese to appreciate the enormity of it all.
Mexico’s national museum, located in Mexico City, has some of the country’s most important pre-Columbian artefacts, including the Aztec Calendar stone, known as the Stone of the Sun, giant head sculptures from the Olmec civilisation and treasures from the Mayan city of Chichen Itza. Another highlight of the museum is the supposed headdress of the Aztec emperor Moctezuma – a man who, it’s said, drank 50 cups of hot chocolate a day to enhance his ‘prowess’. Get up close to some of these amazing finds with the museum’s 360° virtual tour.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History bills itself as the greatest single collection of U.S. history in the world, home to more than 1.8 million objects that each, in some fundamental way, defines the American experience. The museum offers about 100 online exhibits from its encyclopaedic collections, each with a mix of photos, video, graphics and text on topics ranging from the life of Abe Lincoln (yep, they’ve got the stovepipe hat) to the development of the first artificial heart to the evolution of voting machines and even an array of vintage lunch boxes.
War planes. Spy planes. Spacecraft. Gliders. Kit planes. Eccentric contraptions. This sprawling museum, adjacent to the Boeing complex south of Seattle, Washington, is considered one of the world’s largest and best air and space museums, with more than 150 aircraft, 25,000-plus aviation-related artifacts and a huge array of exhibits that collectively chronicle man’s quest to take to the skies. Flight geeks could easily get lost in its vast searchable and browsable database of those collections while 360-degree tours let you step inside a dozen iconic aircraft—including the Boeing 747, the Concorde and the museum’s full-scale model of the space shuttle orbiter used for training astronauts.
For two decades, the National Women’s History Museum has been the largest online cultural institution telling the stories of women who helped transform the U.S. Heavy with slide shows and graphics, the virtual exhibits document women making waves in politics, sports, civil rights, science and technology and more. Check out its collection of oral histories from the American Rosie Movement, relaying women’s contributions to the nation’s defence production.
Anne Frank’s diary, chronicling her life in hiding during World War II, remains one of the most powerful testimonies to the horrors of the Holocaust. If a trip to Amsterdam to visit the Anne Frank House isn’t in the cards, AnneFrank.org offers the next best thing. In addition to tons of informative content about the teen, her diary and the war, there are bells and whistles galore: an interactive timeline, videos about her life, a 360-degree tour of the house, a virtual reality tour of the secret annex where she and her family hid for 761 days, and a companion exhibit on Google Arts & Culture.
It seems only right that the location for the National Computing Museum is in the grounds of Bletchley Park, the centre of Allied codebreaking during World War II and the site of the development of the world’s first computer. Most of the museum’s exhibits can be explored via a virtual tour, including the world’s oldest working computer, the Harwell Dekatron. The museum also holds a replica of the device used to crack Germany’s Enigma code.
Calling all space geeks: Report to the NASA site for ultimate fun in the final frontier. Get the full scoop on all the key NASA programs past and present, from the Hubble Telescope to the Mars Rover to the upcoming Parker Solar Probe. Check out the History hub to dive deep into photos, videos and articles about all their historic missions. Enjoy a motherlode of space images with the cache of ultra-high-def videos taken from various missions—like the virtual tour of the moon in 4K, enabled by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spacecraft. For astronaut wannabes, virtual tours abound of NASA’s various research and training facilities—putting users right inside a supersonic wind tunnel, a zero-gravity lab, flight simulators, a space environment complex and much more.
While there are plenty of current and past exhibits to explore online here, the real draw is the collections. In the site’s Collections Stories area, museum staff members share objects that resonate for them historically or culturally, whether it’s Muhammad Ali’s training gear…the dress Carlotta Walls, one of the so-called Little Rock Nine, wore when she walked the gauntlet of angry mobs on her first day integrating Little Rock Central High School…or shards of stained glass from the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four little girls. And if you’ve got lots of time to explore, browse the museum’s vast open-source collections, brimming with letters, documents, photos and artifacts. They convey the wide-ranging African American experience—from a slave ship manifest to a poster of Sidney Poitier’s film To Sir, With Love.