Adventures at Home: Compendium

I have planned to post this for a couple of months. With all the uncertainty of where and when it’s safe to travel, and what places are open, this seems a good time to compile my posts of some opportunities for enrichment and inspiration.

Please note: I have not revisited most of the links, and some things have undoubtedly changed. Also, I hope people are able to find ways to get outside that are safe and healthy for themselves and those around them.

Click here for virtual travel to:
Museums
Gardens
Libraries
Unusual destinations
Fantastic worlds and their soundscapes

Click here for ways to experience:
Theater
Old Time Radio
Audiobooks and storytelling
Shakespeare’s sonnets
Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Sessions of world music
More arts and music

Click here for mostly off-screen adventures, like:
Reading
Audiobooks (again)
Jigsaw puzzles
Coloring pages for adults and kids

And for a small fee you can take a virtual tour of a mystery house, or explore some of it via still photos for free.

May you all find ways to stay creatively engaged and connected.

Adventures at Home: Virtual Travel

Several areas are loosening stay-at-home restrictions, but for many of us, staying home is still the safest thing to do. And traveling far away for fun and adventure may seem a long way off. So how about some virtual journeys? This is just a sampling of sites I’ve encountered which caught my eye. Some feature videos, some still photos, some simply ambient sounds.

For some armchair traveling to unusual and little-known places, try Atlas Obscura.

There are a tremendous number of museums and historical sites generously offering virtual tours.

For history buffs, you can visit:

The Museum of the American Revolution

Valley Forge National Historic Park

The Peabody Museum at Harvard University, among the oldest anthropology museums in the world.

For more ancient history, you can get a taste of the collections of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

At The Penn Museum, you can get 3-minute curated views of individual artifacts.

Not exactly a museum, but you can pay a virtual visit to and learn the history of Highclere Castle, known as the place where Downton Abbey was filmed.

For fans of science and nature:

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The Franklin Institute

For something like a virtual safari, Explore.org features live cameras on everything from African watering holes to eagles’ nests to kitten rescues.

You can also virtually visit some lovely gardens:

This country’s oldest garden, the U.S. Botanical Garden

Longwood Gardens

Mt. Cuba Center

Jenkins Arboretum at Home

For some great international museums:

The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and New York is temporarily closed, but you can choose a multitude of exhibits to view.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum

The Louvre in Paris

The Vatican Museums in Rome

The National Gallery in London

The British Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For more art museums in the U.S.:

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Brandywine River Museum of Art, where you can view not only virtual tours and gallery talks, but views of nature

You can view pieces from the Barnes Foundation Collection sorted by color, lines, light, and space.

The Walters Art Museum

San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art

Also in San Francisco, The Asian Art Museum

The Morgan Library and Museum

Woodmere Art Museum

Would you care for a taste of other worlds? Consider a visit to these:

From the Bodleian Libraries, Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth

Harry Potter: A History of Magic Exhibit at the British Library

You can also visit a Harry Potter Digital Escape Room

Want to travel through space and time? Try the Tardis Escape Room!

Or try a Star Wars Escape Room.

If you simply want a wordless audio experience, you can hear what it sounds like in the Bodleian Libraries or perhaps what it might sound like in the worlds of Hogwarts or Middle Earth.

 

Many of these sites I found through my local library’s amazing efforts to keep our community connected, informed, and inspired during this time. Don’t forget to check what your local library offers online.

Speaking of libraries, you can tour some of the world’s first-class libraries.

For pages of more links:

https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=8-blooming-botanical-gardens-to-explore-virtually 

https://artscanvas.org/arts-culture/19-immersive-museum-exhibits-you-can-visit-from-your-couch
https://chescotimes.com/?p=31507

https://stayconnectedwithchescolibraries.wordpress.com/2020/03/31/tour-museums-virtually/

And The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections:
https://mcn.edu/a-guide-to-virtual-museum-resources/

Enjoy your travel adventures!

Adventures at Home: Literature and the Lively Arts

*Update for April 23rd, celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday:

*Stratford, Ontario’s Stratford Festival is starting StratFest at Home, a series of twelve Shakespeare plays to watch at home for free. It starts on the Bard’s Birthday, April 23rd, with King Lear, and continues a week at a time with Coriolanus and Macbeth, with more to follow.

This deeply generous offering is joined by the UK’s National Theater. They have been streaming performances a week at a time starting April 2nd. I watched both Jane Eyre (now over) and Treasure Island  which ran until this afternoon (2 pm EDT, if my conversion is right). Both were excellent, with great filming and powerful performances. Jane Eyre was the great drama you would expect; Treasure Island was a wonderful adventure. And I’m particularly looking forward to Twelfth Night, streaming 4/23 til 4/30. More will follow. Do keep in mind the difference between UK time and your local time.

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare like me, see below.

There’s a wealth of more plays highlighted on Playbill. The plays stream on a variety of platforms, some on more than one.

For drama of a different sort, try out some Old Time Radio productions. I have very fond memories of listening to some rebroadcasts as a kid with my family. VT Dorchester has made an excellent post featuring ten golden-age radio shows. Personally, I can’t wait to listen.

For a different sort of audio storytelling, Audible is offering free stories, “for as long as schools are closed.” There are different age levels from very young to adult, fiction and nonfiction, from classic to very modern – e.g. Pooh through Harry Potter to Pride and Prejudice.

A neat thing about both of the above is once you get started, they’re screen-free. But there’s something special about seeing the reader when you’re being read to. Of course, you can read aloud at home. And for youngsters, Barnes & Noble is hosting online storytimes. Also check your local library and even indie bookstores for story times.

Levar Burton is also reading aloud, for kids, teens, and adults. See his twitter
and his podcast.

For reading aloud of a different sort, and for fans of Shakespeare,  Patrick Stewart is reading a Sonnet a Day.

I’m going to switch gears from literary classics to music now. To hear and see some great world music recorded especially for these times, visit Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Sessions, and also Silk Road’s facebook.

Viking TV (not about Vikings, actually) is hosting “Arts and Music Wednesdays,” along with all kinds of cultural offerings on different days.

That’s all for now. Great thanks to all the artists and institutions making these uplifting and mind-expanding opportunities available to all of us, and to the friends who alerted me to these wonderful offerings.

Check back soon for an interview with VT Dorchester.

Adventures at Home: Off-screen (Mostly)

People have been sending me cool ideas of things to do at home, and I’ve been collecting them to share. Maybe you’ll enjoy some of them, too!

There are so many, I plan to divide them into multiple posts. First up: things to do off-screen.

Here’s one of my favorites: reading.

Have any books you have around the house you’ve been meaning to read? This may be the perfect time. Pull some off the shelf, and start with any that calls to you.

Need a new book? This is the perfect time to buy anything from my publisher, Running Wild Press. They have put all their published catalog on sale for pennies above cost for paperback and 99 cents for eBooks* through May 1, 2020. You can find contemporary and historical fiction, memoir and other nonfiction, and eclectic collections of all kinds of short fiction. Here’s their list and details.

 

If you want a book — ANY book — paperbound, try your local bookstore — a lot of them can ship from online orders! You can search for an independent bookstore on Indiebound. Or try Barnes & Noble, especially for e-books*. Support real bookstores! (Amazon will probably weather this storm all right; bookstores are struggling.) And support booksellers, authors and publishers – they all need it.

If you don’t want to buy a new book, check out your nearest library’s website. Many libraries have e-books, audio books, and even magazines available online. And yes, checking out e-books from libraries does support authors and publishers! And it supports the libraries, too, by showing the Powers That Be how vital they are to our communities, especially in a time like this.

For the young and young at heart, Audible is offering free audiobooks for now.

If you have some spare time, review books you like on Goodreads or Amazon. Help out authors to get through these hard times!

My Copy, Reviewed on Goodreads

Here’s something that uses a totally different part of the brain: jigsaw puzzles!

Again, you can try your local bookstore to see if they deliver. We stumbled upon a favorite of ours in Wellington Square Bookshop, a wonderful bookstore I look forward to making the journey to when bookstores can open their doors again. Scroll down a bit to see results when you do a search on Wellington’s website.

Or try Barnes & Noble for puzzles — they seem to have a good number right now.

Another hands-on pursuit: coloring, for kids and adults as well. Coloring is another cool pursuit that uses other parts of our brains, and I find it fun and calming, both.

A library reached out to Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., who very kindly shared their Kids’ Resource Hub – coloring, puzzles, and more.

The Winchester Mystery house is offering their kids’ coloring book and crosswords puzzle.

An astounding array of museums are offering coloring pages from their collections – plenty to appeal to adults and older kids.

I plan on another post soon about more adventures at home on computer – including touring some amazing places, and seeing world-class performances. Check back!

*OK, yes, e-books are on screens. But I find reading a book a different experience than browsing the web, streaming a show, etc. And sometimes e-books are the best choice.

Adventures at Home: Mystery House Tour

*Update July 17th, 2020: the free tour has expired (and so, apparently, have the discount vouchers), but the video tour is still available for a small fee to rent. I took the tour when it was free and quite enjoyed it. There is also an immersive 360 degree tour for a slightly larger fee that sounds intriguing, but which I haven’t tried. And there’s a good deal you can learn about the fascinating place simply by visiting the website.

 

Have you ever wanted to tour a haunted house? Now’s your chance for a virtual tour, but it won’t last long – it expires tomorrow April 7th!

The Winchester House is a huge, sprawling labyrinth of a place. It was the home and vision of Sarah Winchester, widow and heiress of William Wirt Winchester. Find out more about it here. The place sounds fascinating, and they’d like you to visit in person so much that they’re offering discount vouchers for when they re-open.

But for today, you can tour it virtually.

I hope to take a tour myself!

I’m working on a blog of more fun things at home, but I wanted to post this today since it’s such an ephemeral offer. Check back soon for more adventures at home.

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