How to enjoy heritage from home

We’ve put together a list of heritage-inspired activities you can do from home – we’ll be updating the list, so keep checking back to find new things.
Hedgehog drawing
An #IsolationCreation project

We have been keeping an eye out for some of the wonderful heritage activities that you can do from home.

We've also come up with some ideas of our own.

Many of our staff members will be taking part, often with families in tow, as we all find ourselves adapting to new ways of working. Please join in with us!

Share what you do on social media by using the hashtag #HeritageFromHome.

 

Be inspired by nature – inside and outside

We know that nature can be hugely beneficial to our wellbeing.

If you can’t go outdoors, then having greenery around your house is also positive for mind and body. Even images of nature can help to enhance your mood.

"Let's support each other through these challenging times by sharing the beauty of nature and spring."

Can you see natural heritage from your window? Do you have any house plants? Please share them with us! Let's support each other through these challenging times by sharing the beauty of nature and spring.

Plants on window ledge
Photo shared by Rhianon Davies, The National Lottery Heritage Fund's Marketing & Communications Manager (England, North)

 

Turn any outside space – including your windowsill – into a wildlife hotspot. We can all help make a big difference to the natural world. While we can’t go out to volunteer, here are some fun things to try at home.

Enjoy a peaceful moment with the Breakfast Birdwatch with the RSPB. From 8–9am every weekday, look out for nature outside your window – and share your sightings using #BreakfastBirdwatch. Follow them on Twitter: @Natures_Voice.

Why not brush up on your nature knowledge? Use your daily walk to identify birds and bees with Devon Wildlife Trust – and back at home make your own binoculars or mini nature reserve.

 The live camera feed has been switched on at the Dyfi Osprey Project in anticipation of the majestic birds' imminent return from migration – you can watch it below. Stay with the pair of ospreys that breed at Cors Dyfi as they reunite, hunt for fish and raise their chicks, before flying back off to west Africa in the autumn. Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates. 

Learn about the birds that visit your garden and contribute to important scientific research with the British Trust for Ornithology's Garden BirdWatch. They're giving everyone free access to their online BirdWatch resources during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

Share your marine memories with Living Seas Wales – they are capturing stories about Wales' coastal wildlife and sharing plenty of beautiful sea dwellers on Twitter and Facebook.

The EPIC (Enhancing Places, Inspiring Communities) project in Worthing has lots of nature-inspired activities on offer, including guides for making bee hotels, bird boxes and hedgehog tunnels. They also have a great selection of nature-inspired quizzes: test your knowledge on birds, bugs, wildflowers, freshwater invertebrates and hedgehogs.

 

Heritage-inspired ideas and activities

Create, watch, read, listen and take part – heritage-inspired activities you can do from home.

Discover objects from museums across the country by searching for #MuseumsFromHome – share your own objects as well!

The Ashmolean Museum is after your #IsolationCreations. They’re posting an object each day and are hoping to see any creative responses: drawing, poetry, dancing, baking and more. Find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Jug
Pottery vessel in the shape of a hedgehog, 1500BC, Abydos, Egypt – The Ashmolean Museum – The inspiration behind the #IsolationCreation above

 

Why not get scribbling with the Royal Academy’s Daily Doodle? Each day the gallery offers up a topic, from people’s home workspaces to "happy apples". Share your masterpiece with #RAdailydoodle.

The Lily’s Legacy project is telling Liberal Jewish Stories online – and want you to get involved.

Four women
Share your memories of the NHS. Credit: NHS at 70: The Story of Our Lives

 

Share your stories of the NHS with the NHS at 70 project. They’re creating a Digital Archive of health service history by recording the stories of people who have worked for or been cared for by the NHS since its creation in 1948.

Mrs Smith’s Cottage in Navenby, Lincolnshire, is a time capsule into a bygone era. A digital tour of the kitchen recently went live, using images, memories of Mrs Smith and quotes from her diary to help you enjoy the visit. They celebrated by sharing their special #kitschkitchen items on Twitter – get involved by sharing your own kitchen fineries!

Cottage inside
Inside Mrs Smith's Cottage

 

The Then & Now – 100 Years of Old Swan Women project is gathering memories & hidden stories of women who lived through the First World War in Old Swan in Liverpool. Receive a free resource pack to take part.

Explore the York Museums Trust's collections and take part in their Museum from Home activities, including Curator Battles and the storytelling game Lie to Us! 

The BFI’s Britain on Film showcases thousands of preserved films taken from the last 120 years of British life. These can be easily searched by location, subject and decade using the Britain on Film map. Help improve the map by identifying locations you see in the archive films. You can also use BFI Player to find more heritage films, including moving images from the Victoria Film collection – “the last great invention of the age”. 

Two girls
Springtime in an English Village 1944, Crown © Ministry of Information, BFI National Archive

 

Manchester Museum have uploaded their digital content to a new mobile site called Manchester Museum in Quarantine. Visit for online collections and exhibitions, resources for adults, families and carers and an Encylopedia of Wondrous Objects. Follow on Twitter at #MMinQuarantine.

Eyes down, it's time for #BarnsleyBingo, heritage style. Join Barnsley Museum’s digital curator as he takes a look at their collections with the use of a bingo machine.

"Enjoy world-class theatre at home with The National Theatre - for free!"

Enjoy world-class theatre at home with The National Theatre - for free! 

Archaeological site
Identify archaeological features and sites across the Chilterns with Beacons of the Past

 

Become a Citizen Scientist and help the Beacons of the Past project identify archaeological features and sites across the Chilterns. You’ll learn how to interpret Light Distance and Ranging (LiDAR ) imagery captured by plane-mounted lasers. Numerous exciting discoveries have already been made, but there is so much more still waiting to be found. The research is leading to new understanding about life in Iron Age and early Roman Britain. 

The Devon and Exeter Institution are offering a series of activities to do from home, including recipe ideas, crafts and virtual tours. We particularly like the set of online jigsaw puzzles they have made out of the evocative illustrations from their Our Region Revealed digitisation project. You can choose how many jigsaw pieces you'd like to take on, from six (great for kids) to up to 1,000 if you'd like a challenge. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more ideas.  

Jigsaw puzzle
Drawing of a view of Exmouth: online jigsaw puzzle, Devon & Exeter Institution

 

National Galleries Scotland have been working with PAMIS (Promoting A More inclusive Society) to create sensory stories which support people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to access heritage. These stories, inspired by sculptures in the gallery, have been adapted so that people can use them with objects found at home. Investigate the Kolbenneblok and the little magic pit, have conversations with magic stones, and find out how the robin got his red breast.

The Dynamic Dunescapes project is restoring sand dunes across England and Wales. They're asking people to look through their photo albums and share their #DuneMemories with them. The project will then re-share the photos on Thursdays through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Things to do for families

Fun and easy things to do to keep the family entertained.
 

Jodrell Bank
A rainbow arcing over Jodrell Bank Observatory. Credit: Anthony Holloway


Jodrell Bank is exploring Science Learning at Home with themed activities around rainbows, the moon, stargazing, and the iconic Jodrell Bank Observatory itself.

The Wildlife Trust have lots of great ideas for families, including quizzes, live webcams, colouring pages and nature projects.

Historic Dockyard Chatham have many a sea-inspired activity available in their new Museum From Home, including arts, crafts, quizzes and kitchen science for kids. Adults can also dive into the dockyard's fascinating collection to discover 400 years of Kent's naval history. Follow on Twitter and Facebook for daily inspiration. 

Craft octopus
Make a pom pom octopus with Historic Dockyard Chatham

 

Biggin Hill Memorial Armchair Explorer activities, include plane and poppy making and shelter design.

SS Great Britain have created an online game for kids to design their own steam ships.

Make your own masterpiece with Art UK.

Clare Hollingworth helped refugees in Poland, broke the news of the start of the Second World War and received an OBE for services to journalism. Last year, PaddleBoat Theatre toured their show 'Clare Hollingworth and the Scoop of the Century' and made accompanying education videos and resources for schools. Use them to learn more about Clare and have a go at being a journalist yourself!

Spider crabs
Explore the Welsh coastline with Living Seas Wales. Spider crabs. Credit: Dave Peake

 

The Mary Rose Museum website has put together some fun historical crafts.

Back from the Brink has a series of fun activities to help families stay connected with nature. These include wordsearch puzzles, colouring sheets, and shrill carder bee kazoo making. 

Authors aged 5–12 can learn to Make Stories Like Roald Dahl with six blogposts inspiring young writers.

The Science Museum has lots of free resources for fun and fascinating things to do with items found at home, including plane making, spaghetti structures and kitchen science...

 

Heritage online

A vast array of online collections and virtual tours are available at the click of a button.

The Painted Hall in Greenwich, London, was designed to be a public display of magnificence, reflecting the power and prestige of the Royal Navy. Explore this magnificent Baroque masterpiece from the comfort of your own home through a new 360 degree virtual tour, with descriptions available in British Sign Language.

Inside virtual tour
Inside the Painted Hall

 

Explore over 3,200 UK venues with public art collections with Art UK.

"Explore over 3,200 UK venues with public art collections with Art UK."

Take a virtual tour of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, including the Staffordshire Hoard – the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.

Use an app to go on an armchair heritage tour of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. The Foresters' Forest Landscape Partnership project also has a handy timeline that shows you the history of the forest from 9000 BC to the present day.

Forest of Dean timeline
Forest of Dean timeline. The Foresters' Forest.

 

The British Library's sound collections feature over 1 million discs, 185,000 tapes, and many other sound and video recordings from all over the world.

Search Glasgow Women’s Library's newspaper cuttings, events and publicity material, oral histories, photographs and posters. Delve into its significant LGBT Historical collection.

 The Postal Museum has over 60,000 objects and thousands of records detailing nearly 400 years of postal history. Follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they explore and share their fascinating collection. You can also take a virtual ride on the museum's Mail Rail, once used to cart post around beneath the streets of London.

Messenger boys
Messenger boys, Belfast 1935. Credit: The Postal Museum

 

Explore the National Army Museum's collections, which showcase the British Army's role as protector, aggressor and peacekeeper from the British Civil Wars to the modern day.

Explore over 500,000 objects held at the seven museums that comprise the National Museum of Wales, including the Big Pit National Coal Museum and St Fagan's National Museum of History – voted Art Fund's Museum of the Year 2019.

The Black Cultural Archives are telling the story of Black British history through an online archive available on Google Arts & Culture, which includes a virtual tour of their Brixton site. 

2020 is the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale's birth and has been designated Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organisation. In the Florence Nightingale Museum's new online exhibition you can discover objects, people and places that tell the fascinating story of her life and legacy.

Florence Nightingale on bank note
Florence Nightingale was the first historical woman to feature on one of England’s bank notes. 1975-1992. © Bank of England

 

Listen to podcasts with the V&A Museum, with topics including invisible women, skateboarding and modelling for Dior.

Have a look at the Hepworth Wakefield's past exhibitions and take a virtual wander around the gallery.

Culture Perth and Kinross Museums have come up with an inventive way to share their collections – through the medium of MS Paint! Their events officer has turned his hand to the software programme and is taking daily requests. Have a look at #DougieDraws.

Virtually visit Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum – home to the University of Oxford's archaeological and anthropological collections.

National Museums Liverpool have several virtual tours available, including World cultures, Challenging histories and Dinosaurs and the Natural world.

Search the Imperial War Museum's collections – 800,000 items that tell the story of modern war and conflict, collected by the museum since 1917.

Shewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is a monument to the industrial revolution. Its Main Mill, built in 1797, was the world’s first iron-framed building. A partnership led by Historic England is saving and restoring the buildings after years of dereliction. You can take a virtual tour of the building site as it was in 2019. 

Flaxmill Maltings
January 2019 – Front of the Main Mill at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings. © Historic England.

 

Find answers to your big nature questions at the Natural History Museum – explore their online collections and virtual tour.

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