Sheltered Diaries: Let’s Take a Field Trip

This weekend, we had to deliver some bad news to Tiny – the summer vacation we had planned as a family was now indefinitely on hold, and we’d probably end up having it next summer.

This summer, it has become clear, will be more spur of the moment decisions that hinge an awful lot on whether we’re all sheltering in place still – and whether places we’d like to go are hot spots that are still shut down.

Part of our vacation was going to be spent in Virginia – visiting the homes of founding fathers, touring museums, and spending time at Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg.

But this has opened up a whole new way for us to learn, too (we are trying for a few silver linings this week). Thanks to the internet, many of the places we wanted to travel to are now conducting tours online.

Some have virtual tours you can do at any time, but in the case of Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, the staff is conducting tours daily – live via Zoom. You can tour Jefferson’s home, ask questions of the guides in real-time, and there are even special tours for families.

George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, also has a virtual tour (but it’s not live). The website also has a ton of resources and educational material, too.

We can check out Yorktown and Jamestown thanks to a robust website from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and the Jamestown Settlement. Full of videos, tours, galleries and more, we’ve put it on our list so we can learn more before we head there next summer.

Colonial Williamsburg has its own channel on Roku and Amazon Fire, but is also offering tons of materials, and live interactions with historical interpreters and electronic field trips on its website.  On Monday, kids can chat with George Washington, by the way.

I also recommend poking around on the Smithsonian’s website – from a cheetah cub cam, to art classes, to chats with paleontologists, we may be out and moving around the city again before you plumb even half the depths of the website and its satellite sites.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you how we travel the world while staying home. What sites are you all using to get your travel fix in? Let us know in the comments.


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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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