Our thanks to the Heritage Open Days team for the following update:
Lots has changed over the last few weeks in these difficult and unprecedented times, so what does this mean for HODs?
Basically, it is a hopeful waiting game right now. It is too soon to know how things will evolve over the summer and whether restrictions will still be in place in September. There is time and we don’t want to make any hasty decisions. Heritage Open Days is all about celebrating community and local stories, which feels more important than ever in these strange times. So, we’re determined that HODs will happen in September… in some form.
Keep an eye on our website over the coming weeks, when hopefully the path ahead will be much clearer.
In the meantime, staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t explore some incredible heritage sites… we’ve brought together some of our favourite online experiences so that you can get your cultural fix indoors. So let’s dive into the web and explore the very best collections, archives, galleries and museums across England.
Travel through time
Delve through 14 billion years of history with this incredible interactive timeline based on wikipedia entries! Or take a multimedia experience through time, continents and cultures, featuring some of the most fascinating objects in human history at the British Museum. Jump back in time to explore objects from across diverse cultures and listen to curators sharing their insights.
Some of our favourite HODs events have produced virtual tours of their sites, for you to explore without even being there. Peek inside the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and discover over 40 galleries which display art, social history and archaeology. Or tour the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford which houses over 600,000 objects, photographs and manuscripts from almost every country in the world and from all periods of human existence.
With schools closed, many families are looking for ideas to keep children entertained. Why not try a bit of colouring to release that inner child? Check out these incredible free colouring books provided by libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions. Or if you’re struggling to keep the kids active, the Woodland Trust have created some great nature-based activities you can enjoy together at home or in your garden.
If you’ve exhausted all of your films & box sets then check out ARTE, the free European culture TV channel where you can stream cultural documentaries, films and concerts. Or if you’re seeking some bedtime soundbites our favourite podcast is ‘A history of the world through 100 objects’ with former British Museum director Neil MacGregor.
Although National Trust houses, gardens and parks are temporarily closed, this doesn’t stop you from using their online resources to visit the collections in their care. Our favourite is the Treasures of Osterley, which presents the precious works of art acquired by a family of bankers, as they rose to fame and fortune during Britain’s Financial Revolution.
Or use this spare time to find your favourite object in the largest collection technology, engineering and medicine items in the Science Museum’s online experiences.
History is being written all the time, and never more so than right now in these unprecedented days – so keeping a record of your everyday experiences will be really useful, not to mention interesting to future historians. Brilliant HODs organisers at Headstone Manor Museum have a diary template they are encouraging people to use.