May 13, 2020

7+ Virtual Activities to Delight Preservation Lovers

For our next set of virtual experiences, we are highlighting seven diverse resources from the National Partners Preservation Network, an independent organization geared toward strengthening the preservation movement across the country. These resources are varied—from virtual tours to children’s books readings—but all present different ways to consume and preserve history while staying safe at home.

1 The Nevada Preservation Foundation organized a “History at Home” weekend in April 2020, and has kept all of their curated content online for everyone to enjoy. Programs include talks by architectural historians and authors as well as virtual tours. Fans of cowboy culture and the Wild West might enjoy this virtual walking tour of Downtown Historic Elko, Nevada, a railroad-turned-mining town that is now home to the Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum and hosts an annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

2 If you love history—and especially if you live in Baltimore—check out these “Five-Minute Histories” from Baltimore Heritage, which delve into a variety of sites (including the Hebrew Orphan Asylum) and themes (such as Gargoyles & Grotesques and LGBTQ heritage) in short 5-to-10-minute videos. Hosted by Johns Hopkins, executive director of Baltimore Heritage, these daily videos are a great way to learn about historic sites.

3 The Los Angeles Conservancy has curated a wonderful landing page of virtual resources for all to peruse from home. Included are virtual tours that enable viewers to explore historically and culturally significant areas, including Chinatown and K-Town, as well as self-guided tours of historic film locations and architectural points of interest in downtown Los Angeles.

4 For those with children: check out the Los Angeles Conservancy’s “Storytime for Kids” series on their Instagram. The books chosen feature stories about architecture and exploration and often include extra activities, such as this reading guide that accommodates their reading of The Shape of the World: a Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright. If you missed the live event, all the Storytime videos are available on the Conservancy's website for later viewing.

5 Explore these online resources from Historic New England, which include virtual tours, access to their "Everyone’s History" film series that explores stories about how people lived in in New England during the twentieth century, and online curriculums. If you’re an animal lover, be sure to check out this live feed of Comet, a baby goat who was recently born at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm.

Promotional image of the Los Angeles Conservancy's virtual book club for kids ("sharing our favorite classic storybooks about preservation and architecture"). Image features book covers in front of a solid blue background, with a yellow sketched skyline at the bottom of the promo.

photo by: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Conservancy

6 For more historical farm and animal-related content, check out the “Virtual Village” page Old Sturbridge Village has created. Staff members have been sharing a variety of historical content (including this quick dive into women’s hairstyles during the 1800s and this tutorial on how to make a cardboard loom) as well as updates on the farm animals who live onsite (such as this video of their sheep running to a nearby enclosure).

7 If you’re interested in seeing preservation in practice, consider watching Saving Places, a documentary that follows the crews and volunteers of HistoriCorps as they restore over a dozen historically significant buildings. A nonprofit organization dedicated to saving historic places, HistoriCorps has recently suspended its operations due to the coronavirus. If you’re a preservation lover, consider renting this documentary or sharing it on social media for other preservationists to enjoy.

Browse the complete list of the National Partners Preservation Network's resources. And if you haven't had a chance to explore all of our own virtual tours and resources, you can do so here.

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Emma Peters is the marketing assistant at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A history graduate, she is constantly humbled by the way past lives and societies can alter the way we consume the present.

Applications for the Telling the Full History Preservation Fund grant program are due December 15, 2021.

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