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Visiting Museums from Home

Museums provide fantastic online resources for learning, whether it’s taking a virtual school trip or using the museum’s resources to create and support home-ed lessons. Thanks to a proactive move to migrate museums online, we now have access to seemingly unlimited exhibits all over the world (a trend that accelerated during the Covid-19 lockdowns and spread to art galleries and theatres, too).

During the global lockdowns, museums generated resources that helped teachers and schools facilitate remote learning for students when schools were closed. The resources ranged from access to museum exhibits to ready-made lesson plans, worksheets for pupils to print and online courses/guides. These resources are all available online and make homeschool history /culture lessons much easier to prep and teach.

How to Use Virtual Museums as a Home-Ed Resource

Museum websites are great opportunities to allow kids unrestricted internet access – without giving them unrestricted internet access. Start though, offline.

The PDF is a behind-the-scenes museum tour and is a lesson in itself. ‘The resource’Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ introduces museum vocabulary words (exhibit/specimens), provides a task to be completed after reading each section and each section of the resource can be inspiration for future lessons.

  • Leave them wandering around (eg.) the Natural History Museum for an hour and ask them to report back on what they ‘saw’ (having explained how to navigate the website first)

The ‘Discover’ tab leads to a page full of information about the subject…

…with text to read and videos to explore.

There are lessons to follow and activities/topic suggestions to extend their exploration further.

  • Most museum sites have a section for teachers/schools. These sections often include guides on how to lead pupils through the exhibitions, additional resources to use to extend the theme of exhibits, and some include ready-made lesson plans.
  • Find the best museum to match your target subject and start from there. Joy of Museums is a great place to discover museums all over the world.

Extending lessons

Google Arts and Culture is an excellent extension resource. Like museum websites, it’s a safe-to-browse website that can keep students occupied for hours.

After exploring Dinosaur exhibitions at a museum, directing students to Arts and Culture gives almost two hundred more curated resources for students to explore on their own, as well as leading them to different museums all over the globe.

Museum visits are not simply beneficial because of the subject knowledge gained. Visiting museums expand vocabulary, sparks interest in topics you might not have thought to include in a homeschool curriculum and places a value on the natural curiosity of children to learn. Learning is contagious in a museum environment and with online museums, it’s easy to travel the globe on a learning adventure.