Museums are awesome. Where else can you walk through an air-conditioned piece of history with information to learn about the details of our ancestors and those who have lived in this world before us? A place where you can view thousands of works of art to experience an artist’s eye and vision, and yes, in an air-conditioned building.
(You can tell I live in a country with no air conditioning and super-hot weather.)
Now that I live overseas in a small (hot) island, I wish I had taken my kids to see that one museum we kept talking about going to, or took a trip with my eldest to see that one art museum that no one else in the family would appreciate but us.
If you are able, please take advantage of physical trips to the museums around you. Don’t be me and keep intending to go to the museum “soon,” but never do. Just plan it, and go. You won’t regret it.
But what if you just can’t go to a museum?
I was in the military, where I spent most of my time in Spain. It was AMAZING, by the way. I filled the role of health benefits counselor and Spanish translator because I am bilingual and speak Spanish. Each of these roles took me all over Europe and, by far, the best place I went to was Rome, Italy. The architecture was breathtaking, and I have hope to go visit again in my lifetime.
I was with a supervisor who made it so we had a four-day weekend before we had to fly back and boy, did we have an adventure. We had four days to see everything we could.
Two places we had the privilege of visiting were the museums at the Vatican and the Capitoline Museums. We absolutely were in awe. It’s amazing to think that a girl from the Bronx was actually in a museum full of artwork from people we only read about in textbooks.
Now that I am back to reality, although living in a beautiful country, I fully know that taking my children to a museum is entirely out of the question – literally and physically impossible.
This is why I stress taking the step to make a trip to that museum an hour away — just do it. Visiting a museum is a privilege not many around the world get, and it is worth every effort to let your kids experience one.
If your family is like mine and unable to visit the super cool museums because of geographical location, finances, or anything else, then know that we still have an option to learn in ways that weren’t available just a few years ago. Your kids can virtually visit a museum from the comfort of their very own home.
Check out these 15 museums you and your family can visit… from home:
My family lived only two hours from the Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and never ever went. My kids don’t hesitate to remind me either. Although this NASA virtual tour is from the Space Center in Houston, my kids still enjoy it. What do they like most about this tour? A smart-alec animated robot who acts as a tour guide named Audima.
The physical museum is based on Rochester, N.Y. and showcases the world’s most comprehensive collection of toys, dolls, board games, video games, historical materials related to games, and more. The online museum features its most interesting toys, collectibles, and more. Kids can even play a variety of games on the website
Why is this museum popular? For me, as a mom and educator, it’s one of the most visited museums in the world and it details our history — and has dinosaur exhibits. My kids like it because of the dinosaur exhibits as well, but mostly because it was the center of one of their favorite movies called Night at the Museum.
My children and I really enjoy the fact that I have actually been to these museums. Even though they were seeing exhibits in the virtual museum like the real-life Michelangelo’s ceiling at The Sistine Chapel, they also had more questions to ask me about my actual experience.
We enjoy this one because it is in New York City and we actually plan on visiting the museum on our next trip to New York when visiting family. The MET has over 2 million works of art, which include works from Vincent van Gogh.
My kids are really into spy movies. In the Spy Museum, kids learn about include cipher machines, counterfeit money, disguised weapons, miniature cameras, radio transmitters and receivers, and dead drops – all of which caught my kids’ attention.
This museum is ranked among the top 12 children’s museums in the U.S. by Forbes. It features exhibits on the processes of farm life, water cycles, sports, and ancient culture.
This online component of the San Francisco-based (Bay Area) museum of science, art, and human perception, has over 25,000 pages of videos, science-related projects, exhibit highlights, and more. My kids loved seeing the video on the physics of skateboarding.
9. THE LOUVRE
How many of us make it to Paris? Probably, not many of us. The lines at The Louvre to get in can be a mile long, but guess what? You don’t have to wait at all for 360-degree views of ancient artifacts right from your home.
Kids can learn about everything from women in World War II and suffragettes to the rights of women throughout American history. Girls can get really inspired by the achievements of women who have worked hard in history to make a difference.
The MoMA was the very first museum devoted to the modern era from the 1880s to today’s’ film, design, and performing arts. My kids got a kick out of some of the contemporary art. I found it was important for them to learn about modern artists as well as the classics.
12. BRITISH MUSEUM
London’s British Museum has more than eight million objects like the “Kanga: Textiles From Africa” and “Objects From The Roman Cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.” The cool thing about this online museum tour is that they have teamed up with the Google Cultural Institute for virtual tours using Google Street View technology.
Also, from the Big Apple, the famous Guggenheim was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and has works from 625 artists, including Pablo Picasso.
My kids enjoyed this museum because of the colors, and the artwork that seemed silly to them like the Face of Mae West. Get ready to hear a lot of “WOW” and giggles of these panoramic views of Salvador Dali’s art. The physical location is in Catalonia, Spain which was also interesting to them because I once lived in Spain.
From the Google Cultural Institute, these are collections of online ONLY museums and tours from around the world.
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FREE resources for museum & field trips:
These books about museums will be great reads to help kids when going on their virtual tours.
A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum . . .: (Funny Children’s Books, Educational Picture Books, Adventure Books for Kids )Exploring the American Museum of Natural History: A Children’s Guide with Pictures to Color (Dover Nature Coloring Book)I Heart Museums Activity BookBotanicum: Welcome to the Museum
If you haven’t guessed yet, these are actually our top 15 museums we were able to visit from home. My kids helped me put the list together according to which ones they liked best, and I added a few because my kids learned a lot from them. For the most part, these are the museums we visited from home that were our favorites.
Thank God for technology. It definitely has its pluses and negatives, but we can truly use technology for the benefit of our children’s education in a positive way.
If you are taking time off during the holidays or have some raining days in the forecast, then why not take a virtual tour of a museum to brighten up the stay at home blues?
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!