Digital Resources for Experiencing History & Culture At Home

Museums have been ramping up their digital offerings in order to continue providing content to and engaging with their audiences. Chances are your favorite museum has made some resources or material available on their website or social media. Show your favorite museum some support by following, liking and sharing their content! You may even get to see behind the scenes content you would never get to see even if you visited in person. If you are looking for something new or to add a little culture, art or history to spice up your quarantine life, check out what I’ve been working on with my museum clients below.

I’ve been working hard with my current museum clients, the Tobacco Farm Life Museum and the Ava Gardner Museum, to create new content and repurpose existing materials in order to offer their visitors and followers some resources to keep learning about the collections, exhibits, and more from the safety of home.

Tobacco Farm Life Museum

At the Tobacco Farm Life Museum, I’ve been working with staff to create several ongoing series and shift some of what the museum offers to the museum’s digital platforms.

L is for Lye Soap.
  • #MuseumAlphabet – this ongoing social media series is one lots of museums are participating in. From A to Z we’ve been sharing an artifact from the museum’s collection for each letter of the alphabet. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. I selected the artifacts with some help from museum staff and wrote the copy for these posts.
  • On Mondays we’ve been alternating between a series we started pre-pandemic featuring community members’ memories of the museum and why they love it and a series of videos giving short tours of some of the exhibits and historic buildings. Check out the museum’s social media or visit its Sharing Our Heritage YouTube Channel for the tour videos as well as the museum’s existing educational videos about artifacts and related topics. You may find a familiar face and voice in the recent tour videos.
  • Check out the Museum’s blog. I wrote a piece about Capturing Our Past, sharing some documentaries available to watch and learn about North Carolina culture. I also wrote a blog post summarizing all that the museum has to offer in support of the museum’s Giving Tuesday Now campaign.
  • Relax with some digital jigsaw puzzles. Another museum world trend I shared with my museum clients, these puzzles have been very popular with both museums’ followers. Check out the Tobacco Farm Life Museum’s digital puzzles here. They feature scenes from around the museum, inside and out.
  • In addition to creating new digital resources, we’ve been sharing existing resources including the Honors and Memorials program, an online database featuring user generated listing of community members, sharing life stories and local and family history in the process. I assisted with transferring this resource to the museum’s new website last fall.
  • The Museum’s director has started a Facebook live series using newspaper clippings to share local history tidbits. The series, called Clips of Time, is on Fridays at 2pm. I will be planning and presenting that program this week so join us live on Friday on Facebook.
  • We’ve also been sharing fun facts from a forthcoming exhibit about the history and science of soil and water conservation. This exhibit was set to open in April, but has of course been postponed. I worked with students from the University of Mount Olive on researching and putting this exhibit together. I added historical research to it and have been working with a graphic designer on bringing it to life. Since it’s been delayed, we’ve been sharing some sneak peeks on the museum’s social media each Saturday.
  • The museum’s visitor services coordinator has also been working on some educational materials and the museum’s coloring book and some supplemental activities are available to download. Check out the museum’s At Home Learning page for more info.

Ava Gardner Museum

At the Ava Gardner Museum I’ve been doing some of the same things to respond to industry trends right now. At both museums, I’ve worked with staff to engage with popular museum world hashtags in order to capitalize on the momentum and popularity of those trends while also engaging and interacting with other museums. Both museums participated in #MuseumBouquet which was a fun way to show some love between museums. Both museums are participating in #NCMuseumsUnlocked and #MuseumWeek as well. I’ve been involved in the Ava Gardner Museum’s digital initiatives since August. At that time we steadily began increasing social media presence and activity and in the fall we relaunched the museum blog. We’ve continued these efforts even more now that the museum is physically closed.

  • #MuseumAlphabet – like the Tobacco Farm Life Museum, the Ava Gardner Museum is participating in this series with an artifact for each letter of the alphabet. Lora Stocker, a board member at AGM, designed the graphics to accompany. We selected artifacts as a team with museum director Lynell Seabold and I wrote the copy. This series is across all social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Digital jigsaw puzzles have been a big hit at both museums. Ava Gardner Museum’s puzzles use portraits of Ava painted by Dutch artist Bert Pfeiffer.
  • The Ava Gardner Museum recycled a virtual tour it created for the Live Living Network (with permission). I helped roll out this resource by posting clips with captions over several weeks. The tour clips are available on the museum’s YouTube Channel.
  • We’ve been continuing to update the blog. I have written several recent posts. One shares a few downloadable coloring pages from the museum’s coloring and activity book. Another makes movie recommendations featuring Ava and focusing on movies readily available on streaming platforms. We also continue to share topical posts. Around Easter I co-wrote a piece about Ava’s roles in Biblical epics.
  • We’ve made book recommendations and shared the online gift shop more frequently.

If you are looking for a little culture in quarantine, I hope you will enjoy the resources above! Stay safe and stay well.

I am available to help museums and other organizations develop and share digital content in this trying time. Please contact me if you would like to discuss your museum’s digital resources.

Published by Beth Bullock Nevarez

I am a historical consultant, offering research, collections care, and outreach services to museums, businesses, and other organizations. I graduated with a Master's Degree in public history from UNC Wilmington in 2015. I am also an alumna of UNC-Chapel Hill, where I majored in History with a concentration in American History and minored in Archaeology and Spanish. I write about all things history including my work in the field and all things relating to presenting the past to a public audience. I also love coffee, baking, books, sitcoms, and 90's rom-coms. I live in my native eastern North Carolina with my husband and our dog Dia.

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