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A guide to museums and attractions offering virtual tours and field trips — from Chalkbeat

Connecting school groups and places to visit virtually for field trips and more

Michal Parzuchowski/Unsplash

With traditional field trips largely on hold during the global pandemic, many museums, historic sites, and attractions have innovated by offering virtual tours and experiences. We’ve put together this sponsored guide to help educators and parents learn about various options for school groups.

The following organizations invite you to learn more about what they have in store!

Does your organization offer virtual tours for school groups? Tell us about it!

American Writers Museum

A group of students seated at a table typing stories

A museum that inspires students to write! American Writers Museum offers a wide variety of online educational opportunities. Virtual field trips feature three live and interactive activities:

  • Guided exploration of the American Writers Museum or two online exhibits
  • Mind of a Writer live activities including gameplay and pop quizzes
  • Writer Wednesdays discussions with contemporary writers.

The online educational program also offers downloadable curriculum for students to use at their pace, videos of renowned authors and more.

Focus: American writers, history

Grades: K–12

Cost: Free virtual field trips to schools that qualify. For all other schools, these tours are offered at a flat rate of $125 per class with a maximum of 50 students.

Learn more

Clyfford Still Museum

inSTILL, Clyfford Still Musuem logo and banner featuring two students learning virtually

Clyfford Still has two offerings for schools this year:

  • inStill Live is a synchronous virtual program facilitated by the museum’s educators. It is hands-on and interactive. Students explore the theme “Art in Times of Change” by looking closer at Clyfford Still’s work during past times of change and reflecting on their experiences during our current moment. Students will create their own artwork and consider how they can use art to understand or respond during times of change.
  • inStill On Demand is a downloadable, ready-to-go lesson for teachers to use in the classroom. This lesson allows students to feel the power of their own ideas through the theme “Your Voice Matters”. Students will explore Clyfford Still’s artwork to become more comfortable looking at art, develop confidence in their ideas, and use their unique voices to express their creativity.

Focus: Art, history, art history, social-emotional learning

Grades: Kindergarten through college

Cost: Free

Learn more

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center logo and text

Visit Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center on a virtual field trip of the Museum’s four world-class exhibitions.

  • Students can explore the history of the Holocaust through a virtual Karkomi Holocaust Exhibition Tour. Hear stories of survivors, eyewitnesses, and rescuers through the many artifacts in the exhibition.
  • For younger audiences, students from grades 3–6, can go on a journey into the museum’s Make a Difference! Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition. Through interactive activities, students can learn responsible decision-making skills, empathy, and how to become change-makers in their community.
  • Students can connect with human and civil rights history and challenges today with our Take a Stand Center exhibition virtual field trip. Gather tools for civic engagement and learn how to take action on issues of importance, gathering tools, and strategies.
  • Learn the life story of Nelson Mandela in the museum’s special exhibition, Mandela: Struggle for Freedom. Explore the history of apartheid and the fight for equality in South Africa (Feb. 21 — Sept. 12, 2021).

Focus: Holocaust and genocide studies, character education, social emotional learning, civics

Grades: K–college

Cost: $2–$8 per student

Learn more

New-York Historical Society

New-York Historical Society Museum & Library logo with the text, “because history matters”

The New-York Historical Society has two offerings for this school year:

  • History @ Home: Explore the treasures of the New-York Historical Society right from home. In spring 2021, students can learn all about the history of the United States in our synchronous, interactive, free virtual classrooms. Lessons are content-based, inquiry-driven, and thematically and developmentally appropriate for each grade served. Students study images, artifacts, and historical documents, and learn to think like historians. All you need is internet access and a device with the ability to connect to a Zoom meeting! To sign up, visit our website.
  • Social Studies Enrichment: Looking for a unique history experience for your students? Book a private virtual lesson with the New-York Historical Society. In these lessons students will be engaged by a New-York Historical Society educator to think critically about the nation’s past. We offer a variety of topics that align with New York State Social Studies Standards for both elementary and secondary schools. To book, visit us here.

Focus: History

Grades: K–12

Cost: History@Home is free; Social Studies Enrichment is $120

Learn more

The Green-Wood Cemetery

The Green-Wood Cemetery logo

Green-Wood is now offering twelve virtual programs on American history topics from the American Revolution through the 20th century. Learn about our fascinating “permanent residents” through their grave monuments and additional primary sources. Meet forgotten Black suffrage leaders, Civil War heroes, and even George Washington’s favorite dentist! Our unique programs are sure to engage and intrigue your students. Programs can be tailored to 4th through 12th grade.

Focus: American history, art, nature

Grades: K–12

Cost: $100-$120 per program, limited Title 1 school discounts available

Learn more

This is a paid guide from Chalkbeat. Our editorial staff had no role in its creation. All proceeds directly benefit Chalkbeat’s mission, and we are grateful to our sponsors.