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Take A Virtual Tour Of These North Carolina Museums

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh offers a virtual tour of eight sectors of the museum including the Living Conservatory, a replica of a dry, tropical forest.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh offers a virtual tour of eight sectors of the museum including the Living Conservatory, a replica of a dry, tropical forest.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh offers a virtual tour of eight sectors of the museum including the Living Conservatory, a replica of a dry, tropical forest.
Credit Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh offers a virtual tour of eight sectors of the museum including the Living Conservatory, a replica of a dry, tropical forest.

It's not easy keeping the family engaged and entertained during this unprecedented time, but these North Carolina museums are making that tall task a little more accessible. Across the state, museums have turned to digital technology to craft online tours that aren’t subject to regular business hours.

At the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, curators had already started developing virtual exhibits ahead of the pandemic, but according to Roy Campbell, the director of exhibits and digital media, the coronavirus shutdown supercharged their efforts. Now virtual visitors can meander through eight immersive online tourswhich cover different sections of the museum including the Snakes of NC exhibit and the Living Conservatory, a replica dry tropical forest home to the museum's resident two-toed sloth.

Campbell said developing the online tours has been illuminating for museum staff.

"We've actually been able to see the galleries that we know quite well through a new perspective and new ways," said Campbell.

So far, Campbell says, the museum museum’s virtual tours have attracted just under 12,000 online hits this year.

Meanwhile, over at the North Carolina Museum of History, visitors can take guided tours of certain exhibits on the museum's YouTube page, including a tour of the museum's 1920s replica drugstore and walk-through of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame exhibit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsa173dQ_OI&feature=emb_title

If you are looking for group or classroom activities, over a dozen museums and historic sites in North Carolina — including the North Carolina Zoo, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and the North Carolina Museum of Art — offer virtual tours and field trips. Most of these sites require advance registration and some charge a fee per group or per participant.

Virtual Tours Beyond NC

Want to travel a little further? Museums in the far corners of the globe have also turned to virtual tours to encourage distance-learners. At The Louvre in Paris, remote museum-goers can venture through The Advent of the Artist or Power Playsexhibits, among others.

And Google Arts & Culture's repository of virtual tours lets you stroll through the riches at sites like the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City, Mexico or the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

No matter which online museum experience you opt for, by sticking to virtual experiences you can have fun and help keep others safe during the pandemic.

This story was originally published on Dec. 28, 2020.

Copyright 2021 North Carolina Public Radio

Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things (hyperlink), a show that explores North Carolina through conversation. Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards. Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.