The COVID19 pandemic has forced public institutions & tourist attractions around the world to close their doors, but that doesn’t mean we can’t visit. If you’re interested in history, now’s your chance to do more than read historical novels or watch dodgy historical re-enactments on TV (not that there’s anything wrong with doing that). Many institutions and attractions have excellent online offerings, and others are working hard to make their collections open access (ie free). Most of us just never had the time to explore them before now.
I’ll update this page as often as I can. I hope that the links here can inspire you to explore historical sites, go down research rabbit holes or just wander around and forget about the walls around you for a while. Please let me know if you discover something wonderful via the links here, or if you have other links to share. Wishing everyone the very best, Jennifer.
Free Online Events – ongoing
- Watch interviews with historians and join in with questions at The Public History Hour from the Australian Centre for Public History at UTS. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 1-2pm Australian Eastern Time.
- Visit historian/hacker Tim Sherratt’s Ozglam Info page – it has reams of links to activities from Australian galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
Historic & Cultural Sites
- Take a virtual tour of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate
- Take a virtual tour of Windsor Castle
- European Castles – links to virtual tours
- The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – from home
- Anne Frank House Museum
- The British Museum
- Project Blue Boy – the Huntington Library is restoring Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy & you can follow the process online
- This History Channel article lists 10 virtual history museums and experiences
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- This article from Hyperallergic magazine lists 12 online museum/gallery tours
- Google Arts & Culture is a portal to thousands of artworks and sites to visit online
- Tour the vessels and galleries at the Australian National Maritime Museum
Podcasts & Audio
- The History Council of New South Wales (Australia) is publishing recordings of lectures and public talks.
- History Lab podcast: Australia’s first investigative history podcast.
- How much do you know about the dismissal of Australia’s government in 1975? The Eleventh is a great modern history series about Australian politics and society.
- Slow Burn Series 1 expertly tracks Watergate from a myriad of different angles
- The Irish Passport covers Irish history, culture & politics. See my review here.
- Ben Franklin’s World: a podcast about the early American past. My review here.
- Go back to earlier posts on this blog where I reviewed history podcasts: here, here and here.
- Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcasts – hours of revolutionary history including France, America, Haiti and South America. My review here.
- A History of the Caribbean in 100 objects. My review here.
- 1619 – an audio series for the NY Times to mark 400 years since the beginning of American slavery
- History Watch – Caribbean history
- Travels Through Time is a podcast from the History Today magazine. This is a link to Kate Fullagar’s interview. It’s great!
Free Short Courses
- The Scottish Highland Clans: Origins, Decline & Transformation. A 3 week free online course from the University of Glasgow
- Future Learn has a range of free, short, online courses on all sorts of topics… royal fashion, archaeology, Scottish Palaeography, Railway history etc
- UTS in Australia has a short course on ‘Making history in the 21st century’ to introduce students to the GLAM sector and historical research.
Open Access Digital Archives
- British History online is a digital collection of printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, focusing on 1300-1800 (free until Jul 2020)
- Historian Sharon Howard has compiled digital resources for early modern historians on her website here – it’s a treasure trove!
- Networking the Republic of Letters, 1550-1750
- the Atlas of Mutual Heritage – a database with info, drawings, maps, prints related to the Dutch East India Company
- Slave Voyages – explore the dispersal of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic world
- Cornell University Library’s Digital Witchcraft Collection has 104 books fully digitised
I have also been documenting free online content in relation to Caribbean history for a few years – go to the Caribbean History Resources tab to explore further.