This year has gone a little bit awry on us with stay at home measures, visitor restrictions and social distancing. All for a good cause and good reasons of course but it can leave us feeling a little lost in our normal routines and adventures. The places we usually frequent with our families for fun days out, to learn, and ignite our passions are closed or restricted to visitors. It all seems a little bit strange and discomforting. And yet, in a most peculiar and unusual way, Ireland is opening up. So many of our favourite places to explore are taking to the virtual and moving online with some exemplary tours, lectures and online experiences available to us from our own sitting rooms. Here we share some of the most thrilling exhibitions and tours online. Why not go old style and use a blank wall in your house and hook up a projector for a cinematic feel while exploring this online world.
EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
Located in the CHQ Building on Custom House Quay in Dublin 1, The Irish Emigration Museum, known as EPIC has reopened and it also has beautifully continued online with a virtual tour of its space and histories. As CEO and Museum Director of EPIC, Dr J Patrick Green says, having a museum with no visitors is very strange but he reminds us that, “Here at EPIC, we proudly stand by our motto, Every Person is Connected.” And so it is very much open online with a virtual tour of the museum. Simply log on and navigate through the corridors, rooms, and exhibits and reveal the fascinating history inside of what it means to be Irish, expanding beyond the borders of Ireland. The stories of Irish emigrants who became scientists, politicians, poets, artists and even outlaws across the world are explored.
For those of us dabbling in schoolwork or looking for something to keep the kids active and happy, EPIC have a history at-home pack available to download. With the Explorers Pack we can “unearth discoveries made by Irish explorers across land, sea, sky and space.” With puzzles, quizzes and activities, this pack is suitable for children 8+.
Natural History Museum and 100 Objects
Like so many, the Natural History Museum, situated on Kildare Street in Dublin, is one of our favourite places to explore but has been closed since the Covid 19 outbreak. Thankfully however, the museum has long been in favour of online exhibitions which are available to us to explore. The 100 Objects exhibition, brought to us by An Post, The Irish Times, the Royal Irish Academy and the Natural History Museum explores objects throughout our history which have been included in a definitive stamp series. Online at www.100objects.ie this fascinating websites brings us through every piece, from circa 5000 BC to the early 21st century, to explore Ireland’s fascinating history, highlighting the social context of each era.
A virtual tour of the Natural History Museum for those of us missing its walls and ceilings is also available online. The ground floor, first, second and third floors are all available to skirt through in these 3D showcases. The museum also offers Engage and Learn pages across a number of disciplines to get creative with our learning at home.
The exhibitions hosted in “a forgotten corner of Trinity College Dublin” ignite creativity and discovery. Since the Science Gallery’s doors closed in March along with the rest of the world, we have been missing the exploration and ingenuity discovered within its building. The Science Gallery has long encouraged young people to learn in an interactive way and encourages us to hop online and whet our appetite with its latest online workshops, podcasts news and videos. The Science Gallery is an ever-moving feat, and nothing can stop us joining in.
From its recent call for sonic explorers, to their chain reaction challenge, the Science Gallery is keeping us intrigued and investigating life in its incredible intricacies. Be sure to check out the daily updates for interesting discussions, reading groups, and interactive learning.
Art in Lockdown
Visual Artists Ireland launched an online art exhibition, Art in Lockdown, in response to the call to stay at home. The exhibition is hosted daily through the Art in Lockdown Facebook page, highlighting twenty artists who have come together to provide us with our “daily art and cultural fix” while staying home and staying safe. Every day, each of the twenty artists showcase one piece of their artwork with daily albums curated.
Google Arts and Culture
When in doubt Google it! As can be expected, when the pandemic was declared and our lives significantly paused, Google recognised that we were actively staying at home in the fight against Covid 19. Our roads emptied, our parks and beaches were abandoned, our rivers and lakes swelled with nature as the world reclaimed its nature spots, and our buildings lay vacant and waiting.
Google embraced the challenge of bringing the world, its creations, and those manmade wonders, directly to us. The Arts and Culture Street View brought to us by Google, allows us to step inside the worlds must-see museums. We have an access all areas pass to cricket grounds, iconic monuments, libraries, artists studios and the art murals in New York. Take your time to explore the world Google Street View has on offer. The world is as big as we remember!