Welcome back to another blog from us at Momentum 360! We hope you’re all keeping safe, staying healthy, and practicing social distancing. This Coronavirus pandemic has been anything but easy, but we all need to continue to do our part to #FlattenTheCurve and pull ourselves out of this so that normal life can resume sometime in the future.
Countless businesses and professionals have been doing their part to help ease this period of uncertainty. We’re sending love to medical professionals, first responders, and to anyone else battling this disease on the front lines. We also are sending a shout-out to teachers and parents who are doing their best to keep kids educated and entertained from the safety of their own homes.
As we all are aware, in March of 2020, states all across America decided to shut down non-essential businesses and urged their residents to stay home unless absolutely necessary to slow down the spread of the devastating Coronavirus. Businesses of all kinds were forced to shut their doors and ask their employees to, if possible, work from home. Unfortunately, working remotely isn’t possible for many. One of the many industries affected by these stay-at-home orders is museums. Full of history, artwork, science, and cultural artifacts, museums are a place of education and enjoyment for people of all ages, nationalities, and identities to see important relics of past and present.
This week, we’re taking a look at museums who have implemented virtual tour technology so that everyone has the opportunity to explore art, history, and other cool exhibits from home. While the museums’ doors may be closed to the public, they are making sure their exhibits are still accessible to anyone that wants them.
We took a look at some of these museums from all over the country to find out how a virtual tour of their space is used and what they have to offer online.
Just like in last week’s blog about the real estate industry using virtual tour technology, which can be found here, we found that virtual tours may be used uniquely by each museum to showcase either its entire collection or just a few exhibits.
Museums For All Ages
The Penn Museum:
The Penn Museum, also known as The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, is one of Philadelphia’s most popular museums and is a staple of The University of Pennsylvania.
The Penn Museum has so many galleries and exhibitions throughout the museum, but they also have several of these on display virtually. The Rome Gallery goes into great detail about the founding of Rome and the evolution of the Roman Empire over the years. Another beautiful online exhibition that the Penn Museum features is the Sphinx Gallery. This gallery features objects from all over the world ranging from Asia to the Middle East to Egypt and beyond. One of the museum’s most well-known artifacts, the Sphinx of Ramses II, is featured in this gallery. This online gallery also features a Neanderthal Head, masks, ribbed figures and statues, and much much more.
Penn Museum’s PR Director, Jill DiSanto, provided insight on everything the museum has to offer online. DiSanto states, “At this time, the Penn Museum offers informal “one-minute video” introductions to what’s inside our galleries, designed to welcome new friends. However, our primary focus has been continuing our mission of transforming understanding of the human experience and our role as a teaching and research institution. As such, we have brought the Penn Museum’s educational resources to parents who have quickly found themselves thrust into the position of a teacher. Through Penn Museum at Home, families can find resources divided by culture, online lectures on a variety of topics (coincidentally, in our Great Lecture Series, this year, we’re showcasing Great Catastrophes throughout time — including the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919), virtual interactive learning programs, At-Home Anthropology projects for kids, and Digital Daily Digs — a 3-minute pop-up talk that encourages everyone to “dig a little deeper” into one artifact in the collections.
Traditional cultural recipes and culturally inspired arts & crafts are available at the Penn Museum’s Pinterest boards.”
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force:
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was definitely more of a challenge to get in contact with some of these museums. However, more and more museums are hopping on the virtual tour trend, and we still want to highlight them!
Now more than ever businesses are prioritizing their online presence, and in an industry that demands physical tours and walk-throughs, museums are quick to follow that trend. The National Museums of the U.S. Air Force, the world’s largest military aviation museum, located near Dayton, Ohio, was quick to follow suit following the pandemic outbreak.
Their virtual tour allows audiences to take a completely self-guided, 360-degree tour throughout the entire museum. Visitors can “physically” walk gallery to gallery or follow a drop-down map that indicates key hotspots throughout the premise. Some featured exhibits are various aircraft cockpits, displays servicemen uniforms from World War I, and images of planes from throughout history.
In addition to their virtual tours, The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is also offering digital lesson plans, word searches, and coloring sheets to further promote this interactive effort. The best part? Everything is entirely free for public use.
This virtual tour initiative is two-fold: create momentum surrounding the educational offerings at the museum and offer a means of entertainment while we all sift through these uncertain times. You can check out their virtual tour, along with other bonus features, here.
Because of the Coronavirus, the vast majority of the American public and private schools are closed indefinitely, pending government approval to reopen. Classes are still being held through online methods like video conferencing on Zoom or electronic assignments. Despite best efforts to maintain the same standard of education, parents are now finding themselves to be their children’s teachers at home. Many children’s museums across the country are trying to help with this by offering virtual tours of their exhibits as an educational tool for parents, teachers, and students.
Boston Children’s Museum:
One such children’s museum is the Boston Children’s Museum in Massachusetts. This museum offers virtual tours of the exhibits, playrooms, and artifacts located in the museum. The virtual tour of the museum was a tool utilized by the BCM before the pandemic but has become an invaluable tool to them in the meantime.
According to a museum spokesperson, “Boston Children’s Museum’s virtual tour helps families plan their visit from the comfort of their homes. This free feature is especially important for first-time visitors. During this unprecedented time of quarantine, families have been checking out the tour as a way to enjoy a virtual field trip. Those with young children who are missing the Museum like seeing it on their screen.
The Museum’s virtual tour has been shared around the world as a great resource for families.”
One exhibit with a virtual tour includes the Japanese House, a 360-degree virtual tour of an authentic and well-preserved traditional urban house from Kyoto, Japan. The house was originally built in the late 1800s and was once home to a silk merchant family in Kyoto’s Nishijin neighborhood, long famous for its silk weaving.
In addition to having virtual tours of their exhibits, the Boston Children’s Museum also has resources available to parents like an archive of video lessons and activities for children to watch and follow along with.
Pretend City’s Children’s Museum:
Irvine, California is home to a non-profit children’s museum call “Pretend City.” Pretend City’s Children’s Museum features 17 interactive exhibits designed as a small, interactive city. Pretend City aims to “build better brains” through purposeful play, hands-on learning experiences, role-playing, and educational programming.
Pretend City’s website offers a Matterport 360 virtual tour of the facility. This tour includes a walkthrough of each exhibit and playroom in the museum, including the grocery store, post office, art room, amphitheater and a dozen others for children to play and think creatively.
Pretend City is a museum that relies on its interactive exhibits to teach children the value of their own creativity. This is something difficult to recreate via a virtual tour. However, the inclusion of the virtual tour allows parents to take their children on a virtual field trip to the museum. Children can still learn about all the different aspects of life in their imaginary city and inspire a similar kind of creativity in their own backyards. It also allows parents to plan a visit from home.
The Strong National Museum of Play:
The Strong National Museum of Play, located in Rochester, New York, is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It is one of the largest history museums in the United States and one of the leading museums serving families. The Strong houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. The Strong’s multifaceted array of research, exhibits, and other interpretive and educational activities serve a diverse audience of adults, families, children, students, teachers, scholars, collectors, and others around the globe.
The Strong also utilizes a virtual tour of their facility. While the museum specializes in the art of playing, particularly in how it helps children develop, there are other aspects that are noted in the virtual tour. An example of this is the timeline of games and puzzles from the 1840s and onward. It also heavily features the creation and subsequent popularity of Monopoly.
This virtual tour is especially helpful while would-be visitors are stuck at home in quarantine because games like the ones featured in this museum are being played in households all across the country during this time. The virtual tour of the gaming exhibits in this museum provides a valuable and relevant lesson to keep their children educated and engaged in their activities.
International Museum Going Virtual
Though we chose to look at American museums, for the most part, it isn’t just museums in the United States that have taken advantage of virtual tours during this unprecedented time of staying at home and keeping our distance from one another. One of the most famous museums in the world has also implemented 3D tour technology to become accessible to people all over the world. In a huge win for the virtual tour industry, The Louvre Museum.
Yes, that’s right. Located in Paris, the Louvre is the largest and one of the most well-known museums in the world. Home to the Mona Lisa and other notable works of art, we were shocked to find that they’re offering virtual tours of certain exhibits free of charge.
Whether it’s Egyptian antiques or decorative arts, you can find yourself lost in history for hours. Bonus: it’s all in the comfort of your own home!
Similarly, the Louvre is also offering other means of entertainment like educational videos about the Mona Lisa or downloadable coloring sheets to keep your kids (and even maybe yourself) occupied.
You can check out the Louvre’s free virtual tours here.
We are all living in uncertain times. Everything is closed, people are scared, and we all are learning how to make the best out of a very unfortunate situation. Thanks to virtual tour technology, education and entertainment are as accessible as a Google search. Museums are not only offering their exhibits to the public for free, but these virtual field trips also help parents make decisions about where to take their kids when the museums are allowed to reopen. This makes the virtual tours beneficial to the museums as well as to parents, teachers, and students.
Here at Momentum 360, we want to make growing your business easier than ever. Investing in a virtual tour is without a doubt an imperative step in making that happen. Our society is prioritizing digital content now more than ever, and we likely will not see a decline in this mindset in the future years.
If you are interested in learning more about Momentum 360 Virtual Tours or would like to have one made for your business, feel free to email us or schedule a call with Sean or Mac. For more information, visit our website! Mac Frederick and Sean Boyle, owners of Momentum, have over twenty years of experience in the digital marketing field and have a passion for helping businesses reach their fullest potential.
We post our Momentum Monday and Small Business Saturday blog every week, so feel free to subscribe and make sure you are up to date on the latest trends in the industry. If you have any questions or concerns, leave them in the comments below! From everyone at Momentum 360, thanks for the love, stay healthy, and until next time, build Momentum!