Maritime Museums Get Creative with Virtual Resources
With a record number of people going online for information and entertainment, maritime museums the world over have gotten creative with providing resources to support and promote our seafaring heritage. The National Maritime Historical website has become an increasingly valuable resource for students and scholars of all ages. Every issue of the magazine is available to the public on our Sea History page. In addition to the fully hyperlinked Sea History Index, there are links to hundreds of useful websites for researchers on our Maritime History on the Internet page, digital photo collection sites on our Maritime Images page, more than 200 maritime museums and historic sites on our Museums, Programs & Historic Sites page, our collection of Sea History for Kids features, and a new archive page for our Sea History Today email series.
It has been fun and rewarding to get the word out about all of the incredibly innovative and diverse ways that museums and other organizations are connecting with people online. We’re in awe of the creativity—museums have produced virtual tours and spotlight features about special items in their collections. Organizations with educational programs are reaching out to young kids and students with activities to do at home, videos, and learning modules. Many institutions have made entire collections or archives available online and posted informative and entertaining lectures on their websites and social media pages. NMHS senior staff writer Shelley Reid has compiled a selection of these offerings below. Check them out—and let us know of any resources we should add by emailing NMHS@seahistory.org.
Virtual Resources to Explore
Adirondack Experience - The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake >>
Visit the heart of the Adirondacks for a truly unique museum experience. With more than 20 buildings nestled across 120 acres overlooking Blue Mountain Lake, this might be the only spot in the Park where you can row an authentic guideboat, break up a log jam, and activate a mine shaft in the same action-packed day. Advance timed tickets must be reserved online prior to visiting.
Australian National Maritime Museum >>
Explore the Australian National Maritime Museum's impressive virtual museum with talks, curator-led vessel tours, online exhibitions, digital activities and games, and resources for students, teachers and parents.
Battleship New Jersey >>
Take a virtual tour of the New Jersey and enjoy other content on the museum's YouTube channel.
Bayshore Center at Bivalve >>
The Bayshore Center at Bivalve has a series of video "virtual experiences," related to the shipboard education program of AJ Meerwald—knot tying, watershed environment, shipboard life—and spotlighting exhibits in the shoreside museum.
Brooklyn Boatworks has a YouTube channel loaded with fun STEM projects to try at home.
Center for Wooden Boats >>
The Center for Wooden Boats is encouraging everyone to share the projects they’re working on from home on social media with #CoopedUpLetsSloopUp and @CWBHeritage, offering a free household membership for the submission selected at the end of the quarantine.
Columbia River Maritime Museum >>
Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Education Department continues its mission to provide quality, engaging, maritime-themed opportunities that will excite and inspire students with its recent library of EDU Talks.
Door County Maritime Museum >>
The Door County Maritime Museum has made two exhibits available online: Shipwrecks of Door County, featuring animated video shorts, and Built for Battle: Sturgeon Bay Ships in World War II, featuring the story panels from the exhibit, both accompanied by follow-up quizzes.
Egan Maritime Institute >>
The Egan Maritime Institute offers a podcast, Time and Tide.
Erie Canal Museum >>
The Erie Canal Museum provides a virtual museum tour, printable coloring pages, and educational activities for students.
Galveston Historical Foundation/Barque Elissa >>
The Galveston Historical Foundation is offering History Homeschool—educational packets from the Seaport's educational programs. The foundation also has a virtual book club and Facebook Live lectures.
Herreshoff Marine Museum/America's Cup Hall of Fame >>
The Herreshoff Marine Museum/America's Cup Hall of Fame is offering the Code Flag Lima Project, "Entertaining Content for the Quarantined," via newsletter and their website.
Historical Ships in Baltimore >>
Historical Ships in Baltimore offers a virtual tour of Constellation, and virtual tours of the organization's other vessels are planned.
Hudson River Maritime Museum >>
The Hudson River Maritime Museum has consolidated its online resources in one convenient location, Museum at Home, on its website, as well as hosting a weekly photo contest on its Facebook page. Additional online offerings are planned.
Hull Lifesaving Museum >>
Hull Lifesaving Museum is conducting an online book club.
Independence Seaport Museum >>
The Independence Seaport Museum's Digital Resources page includes the capability to search the museum's collections; digital exhibits; digital lesson plans; educational features on the port of Philadelphia, the Delaware River; coloring pages; a printable kit to construct your own paper model of Olympia; and computer backgrounds for Zoom meetings.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Explore a digital Lake Champlain Maritime Museum with interactive exhibit experiences. Dive underwater in Lake Champlain on a virtual shipwreck tour and visit the Museum with high-definition 360° panoramas of some of the different spaces on campus.
Lowell's Boat Shop >>
Lowell's Boat Shop is offering talks and skills demonstrations Tuesdays via Facebook Live.
Maine Maritime Museum >>
Maine Maritime Museum offers the online exhibits Maine and the Sea and Patterson and Hyde: Nostalgia for the Age of Sail via Google Arts and Culture, an extensive online manuscript collection, a searchable database of its collections, demonstration videos, and informative features via Facebook.
The Mariners' Museum >>
The Mariners' Museum offers live lectures and workshops; museum blogs; cool facts and creative challenges on social media; museum coloring pages and scavenger hunts; an Age of Exploration website where you learn about explorers and their journeys; and What’s the Story: If Artifacts Can Talk, an interactive education program for students.
Maritime Museum of San Diego >>
Visit the Maritime Museum of San Diego online for EXPLORE (Experiential Learning On-Line Resources for Educators) Video and Digital Teacher Lesson Plans and Resources).
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic >>
The museum's doors are closed to the public, but Merlin the parrot is holding down the fort. Watch him on the museum's live webcam.
Maryland Historical Society >>
The Maryland Historical Society offers Museum from Home, a collection of learning activities.
Michigan Maritime Museum >>
The museum's Education Resources webpage has coloring pages, activity sheets, and links to activities and educational videos.
Museum of the American Revolution >>
The Museum of the American Revolution's digital resources include a virtual museum tour, a virtual field trip, Read the Revolution book excerpts, a digitized collection of the museum's art and artifacts, and more. Teacher and student resources for learning about the American Revolution feature comprehensive lesson plans full of primary sources, high-quality images, and provocative questions, as well as coloring pages.
Mystic Seaport Museum >>
Mystic Seaport Museum is offering virtual learning programs, kids' craft projects, and an expanding Digital Museum of videos, blogs and articles.
Nantucket Historical Association >>
The Nantucket Historical Association offers NHA University: "a weekly resource featuring videos, history topics, artifacts, transcription projects, and more. Intended to enrich at-home learning for all."
National Archives, UK >>
The National Archives is making its digital archives available free of charge, for as long as its Kew site is closed to visitors. From the website: "Registered users will be able to order and download up to ten items at a time, to a maximum of 50 items over 30 days. The limits are there to try and help manage the demand for content and ensure the availability of our digital services for everyone." Users will have to first create an account to access these services.
National Lighthouse Museum
If it’s Tuesday, it’s Lighthouse of the Week Day at National Lighthouse Museum. Additional online resources include Enlightening your Mind's virtual/hybrid lectures, lighthouse boat tour schedule and online Gift Shop. The museum is open once again to the public and available for visits and organized tours following all COVID-19 rules. Sign up at www.lighthousemuseum.org to get on the mailing list and receive the latest information on virtual, hybrid and in-person programs and events.
National Museum of the Great Lakes >>
Visit the National Museum of the Great Lakes website for an online photo exhibit, museum and museum ship tours as well as articles from the journal Inland Seas, videos highlighting Great Lakes history, and a children's program with coloring pages, word finds, a book club and worksheets for educators.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration >> For kids and students craving online games, NOAA’s Planet Arcade is a great place to experience the world of science with 26 educational games and interactive activities—all focused on oceans and the environment.
Nautical Archaeology Society >>
The Nautical Archaeology Society has introduced CovEd Talks, a webcast series featuring a range of speakers, presenting research, projects, and other topics related to marine archaeology. Live broadcasts are limited to the first 500 people to sign up, but everyone who registers will have access to the recorded talks through June.
Nauticus, featuring the battleship Wisconsin, offers Virtual Adventures on its website, including videos, worksheets and daily adventures, updated weekdays at 11 am EDT, featuring stories, science, ship tours and more.
New Bedford Whaling Museum >>
The New Bedford Whaling Museum's Museum from Home contains a library of lectures, online exhibitions, video installments of the Moby Dick marathon reading, and educational activities for all ages.
Noble Maritime Collection >>
The Noble at Home is a collection of online exhibitions, education programs, instructional videos, downloadable resources, virtual tours, and performances.
North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA)
NAMEPA has crafted a Parent Survival series, weekly lesson plans and activities for the whole family reinforcing ocean literacy, as well as downloadable guides about related topics.
Northwest Maritime Center
Northwest Maritime Center has shifted its seamanship and navigation classes online this summer. Courses include Electronic Navigation & VHF and Charts and Dead Reckoning.
Northwest Seaport >>
Northwest Seaport has been conducting monthly sea chantey singalongs, drawing participants from around the world. They are also planning a children's maritime story time. Visit the website for further details.
Ocean Institute >>
The Ocean Institute has an At Home Learning page with videos for a range of ages, from pre-K educational topics to live-streamed dissections to feeding time for the resident sea creatures.
PBS Wisconsin Education >> Students can take a deep dive into maritime mysteries with educator resources and games that encourage learners to use critical thinking and historical inquiry skills to learn about the history and shipwrecks of the Great Lakes.
Peabody Essex Museum >>
Peabody Essex Museum's #PeabodyfromHome has a podcast, virtual tours and activities for all ages.
Penobscot Marine Museum >>
The Penobscot Marine Museum is hosting a virtual book club of maritime titles on its Facebook page, and hosting an online serial adventure: Sailing from Boston to Buenos Aires: The 1892 Diary of Ernest W. Perkins. Each day of this project, a new journal entry is posted, and readers can follow along on the online Story Map and on Facebook, tracing Perkins’s journey aboard the barquentine Mabel I Meyers. Perkins’s commentary about life aboard a sailing vessel is accompanied by helpful links, images, and activity prompts for young readers. Also visit the museum's website for additional updates.
Plimoth Plantation >>
Plimoth Plantation has developed History @ Home™, a series of live interactive workshops with the museum’s educators on themes like Colonial First Families, The First Thanksgiving, and People of the Dawn, an exploration of Wampanoag culture and traditions. There is a $10 fee for these interactive events. The museum also produces Interwoven, a podcast about topics related to the Plymouth Colony world and printable coloring pages for the kids.
Pride of Baltimore II >>
Pride of Baltimore II is offering a Virtual Voyage of the Chesapeake and Coffee with the Captain Virtual Q&A sessions every Friday at 8:30 AM on Facebook Live.
Puget Sound Maritime >>
Puget Sound Maritime has a virtual online collection and activities for kids.
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum >>
SBMM at Home features a virtual museum tour, kids' activities, lectures, and information sheets.
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History >>
The museum offers teacher resources, activities for kids, and online exhibitions.
South Street Seaport Museum >>
Visit the South Street Seaport Museum website to explore collections, historic ships, letterpress printing and more through virtual Museum tours, sea chantey sing-a-longs, workshops, and educational resources for teachers and families, and to learn about upcoming outdoor programming.
St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum >>
The Nation’s Oldest Port™ online programs include activities you can do at home, going behind the scenes of museum work, and learning from museum experts.
Steamship Historical Society of America >>
Explore the Steamship Historical Society of America's dynamic interactive STEAM curriculum on its Steaming Into The Future website, with lessons and activities for students in science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics and social studies. Teachers will also find lesson plans, videos, images, and guided questions.
Tall Ships America >>
Join Erin Short of Tall Ships America for the monthly podcast "A barque, a brig and a schooner walk into a bar" as Erin gets to know the people behind iconic vessels and what it truly means to be a traditional sailor in a modern world. Enjoy sea stories, inspiration, and a little bit of everything else.
Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum >>
Tuckerton Seaport has made its Lunch and Learn program accessible online.
USS Constitution Museum >>
The USS Constitution Museum virtual resources include: A Sailor's Life Live! program with USSCM educators and USS Constitution crew Wednesdays at 1PM ET; Historian at Home videos with Public Historian Carl Herzog, weekly LEGO Ship Shape Competitions on Facebook, A Sailor's Life For Me online interactive game, downloadable family activities, educator materials, blog posts, interactive maps of the Ship's 1812 cruises, and highlights from the collection.
USS Kidd >>
USS Kidd, the National Historic Landmark Fletcher-class destroyer commissioned in 1943, is offering a “guided” photographic tour as well as a 3D exploration of the forward section of the ship to give teachers, schoolchildren, history buffs and World War II enthusiasts a taste of what it was like to live aboard a World War II destroyer.
Whaling Museum and Education Center at Cold Spring Harbor >>
The Museum from Home program includes activities, games, coloring pages, trivia quizzes, and deep dives into the museum's collections.
Wisconsin Maritime Museum >>
The museum's onlne programs include lesson plans, activities, links to educational resources and a library of videos.