(Second in a two-part series on how to accompany the children in your life on virtual visits to a variety of museums.)
With the advent of virtual visits to many museums across America, families can time travel throughout history without leaving home. Access is free so it won’t put a dent the budget. But, it’s important to set the stage and manage expectations for the kids before the visit begins. Preparations could begin by reading museum-related books such as these:
“The Met: Lost in the Museum” is a seek-and-find adventure that takes place in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The story follows a young girl as she moves through the museum’s galleries of Greek and Roman art, Ancient Egypt and Modern Art searching for specific treasures. Reading age: 7-9 years. It was written by Will Mabbit and illustrated by Aaron Cushley.
“Seek & Find — Art Through the Ages” written by Frederic Furon and illustrated by Fabien Laurent. Youngsters will learn of a search for a medieval illuminator at a cathedral under construction and visit Impressionists as they paint by the seaside.
Among the museums in the United States with virtual visiting options and a focus on what interests kids:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
MetKids provides an online experience that features a time machine to uncover objects and artwork from the museum’s rooms. Virtual visitors can explore inventions, fashion and battles through videos and an interactive museum map.
For example, kids discuss famous paintings, including Washington Crossing the Delaware, with one of the museum’s curators.
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C.
Virtual visitors glide through the museum led by a guide from one exhibit to another. Subject range from natural history, the ocean, and human origins. An ongoing series of live webcasts for families demonstrate topics such as how the museum’s technicians remove fossils from rock, repair broken bones, and reconstruct missing pieces to create the dinosaur skeletons on display in the museum.
National Children’s Museum, Washington D.C.
This kid-friendly museum features more than 75 STEAMwork video programs, including a detailed demonstration of how to build a zip line for toys in the house. There are monthly podcasts where children interview STEAM innovators from across the country and virtual field trips that usher them into the museum for free field trips.
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, Calif.
Live web cams and prerecorded videos of penguins at feeding time, are accompanied by a chat about what they eat, how they eat it and why. Other sea creatures introduced in their natural habitat include jelly fish, leopard sharks, and sea otters.
one of the online exhibits at the aquarium.
Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who seeks out family-friendly activities.