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The 3 best 'museums at home' you can visit right now.

Museums Victoria
Thanks to our brand partner, Museums Victoria

We’re a family that usually gets out and about, a lot. Staying home with a tiny backyard has been tough for my boisterous five and seven-year-old boys so I’ve been searching for digital content that reduces their cabin fever while enhancing their distance learning.

One of our favourite pre-COVID family activities was to head to Melbourne’s awesome museums for a day of exploring. So you can imagine my delight (and relief) when I found about Museums Victoria’s Museums at Home. 

While they may be physically closed, Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum all have digital museum experiences you can have from the comfort of your own home, including fun online activities, educational audio, craft videos and more. It’s the next best thing to being there in person – so we gave it a go.

We love visiting Melbourne Museum as a family. We really miss it. Image: Supplied

Melbourne Museum

The interactive tours of Melbourne Museum get a double thumbs-up from my kids. They love clicking their way through the various exhibitions and zooming in on details. The tours bring back great memories of our last visit to the museum and I’m surprised at how many facts they remember (way more than me).

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Shall we go look at some dinosaurs? Image: Supplied.

You can walk through the museum through GoogleMaps. Image: Supplied

When they do want a bit more info, we head to the Learnadome where comedy duo The Listies take you on their Totally Serious 100% Fact Filled Tour of Melbourne Museum. Let Rich and Matt take you through Dinosaur Walk, Melbourne Story, Marine Life, Wild and Bugs Alive all whilst offering light-hearted commentary with jokes the kids will love!

Another audio duo the kids enjoy is Anika and Dexter over at Kinderling Kids Radio. Through their show, The Fact Detectives, the kids learn cool facts about everything from meteorites to sea cucumbers (hot tip: they are not suitable for a salad). The show has encouraged us to include ‘fascinating facts’ in our daily school schedule so the kids can present something they learned to their classmate and teacher (me).

One of the many educational videos on the site. Image: Supplied
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On top of all the wonderful tours, videos and audio, you can design a dinosaur, download colouring-in activities and even make a hand puppet using a printable cut-out.

Kids can download a range of activities and let their imaginations run wild. Image: Supplied

Scienceworks

We live a five-minute drive from Scienceworks so I’ve been gazing longingly at the building every time I head out to stock up on essentials. While waiting for our favourite museum to re-open, we are having a whole lot of fun on the Scienceworks at Home site.

My kids had a ball doing the 'Make a Floating Device' activity which involves wrapping objects you find around the house in aluminium foil to see if they float. We've also kicked off the ‘Find the Full Moon’ activity which has us in the front yard at 6pm every night checking for a full moon. And after running out of ideas for crafternoons, I was thrilled to find instructions for making air cannons and paper aeroplanes that actually fly.

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These air cannons are genius. Image: Scienceworks.
Museums Victoria
We get to explore the universe from our own homes. Image: Supplied

My five year old laughed hysterically when watching a video on all the things you should never put in a microwave (hello exploding eggs and marshmallows), while my space-obsessed seven-year-old is loving learning all about black holes and the big bang. The education resources are the opposite of boring and the perfect cure for cabin fever.

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Immigration Museum

As an immigrant, it’s important to me that my kids have a good understanding of the cultural diversity that makes Australia so awesome. After a few hours on the Immigration Museum at Home site, I’ve been encouraged to talk to them about the origins of Victoria as well as our family history.

Touring the Immigration Museum online made for an educational afternoon. Image: Supplied.

The Talking Faiths videos are a fantastic conversation starter as they cover identity, race, faith and spirituality. While these concepts are pretty advanced for young kids, I’m surprised at the insightful questions and comments my kids came up with after watching the five-minute clips.

Even though Easter is over, the kids can’t wait to have a go at the ‘Dye your own eggs’ activity which is on the list for next week. Thank goodness I found the Museums at Home site because I have been rapidly running out of ideas to keep them entertained.

There are a lot of options for digital activities out there but I can honestly say the Museums at Home site is the pick of the bunch. It ticks every box in terms of education and interaction while reminding the kids of the wonderful museums that are waiting for them on the other side of the pandemic.

So log on, have a crack and report back. We’d love to hear what you got up to on the site. And while you’re there, sign up to Museum Victoria’s e-news to stay up to date on all their exhibitions, special events, programs and offers.

Museums Victoria

While Museums Victoria’s venues are closed we’re excited to showcase the stories, galleries and collections of Scienceworks, Melbourne Museum and Immigration Museum—bringing the magic of our museums to your home and family.

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