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ALVA members provide educational fun during lockdown

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, ALVA, showcases how UK attractions are stepping up to offer innovative virtual learning opportunities during school closures.

victoria-albert-museum ALVA

ALVA is celebrating the work done by the UK’s top visitor attractions to offer educational content for children and schools during the country’s latest coronavirus lockdown. With families across the UK entering another month of homeschooling, ALVA members are providing a range of interesting content and activities.

For instance, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is challenging people to draw a comic strip inspired by The Tempest, create witches recipes from Macbeth and even construct LEGO Shakespeare. Meanwhile, the Tate is encouraging virtual visitors to make art with their bodies and the Museum of London is asking people to re-tell the story of the Great Fire of London in their very own lolly stick theatre, alongside its #WednesdayWalks video series.

Virtual visits, science experiments and more

Zoo fans can enjoy a virtual visit to favourites Chester Zoo, Highland Wildlife Park and Edinburgh Zoo where they can find out more about the animals being cared for there through a variety of online learning activities. In addition, ZSL London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo are broadcasting Tails from the Zoo each weekend night at 6:30 pm on Facebook, where a zookeeper reads a bedtime story in front of the animals.

Alternatively, Royal Museums Greenwich is celebrating key events in the calendar such as Chinese New Year and LGBTQ+ History Month.

Science education at home is being given a helping hand by Birmingham Museums’ science museum, Thinktank, which has created 16 kitchen science videos to try while homeschooling, exploring topics like how to get an egg back from space and hoe make ice cream without using a freezer. The Science Museum Group is supporting homeschooling through its extensive learning resources which include games and apps as well as a partnership with BBC Bitesize.

Meeting the challenge

Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, says “All visitor attractions provide educational and learning experiences in normal times, physically onsite and digitally online, but over the last year they have all stepped up to the challenge to produce even more creative learning experiences to help children, teachers and parents who are learning and teaching at home.

“We know that museums and galleries, parks and gardens, zoos and castles, palaces and cathedrals are the backdrops for people’s happiest memories and these examples of learning tools are just a small indication of how attractions keep themselves digitally open when they are physically closed.”

Other educational content on offer includes hand-on family activities at the National Gallery, free learning resources at the British Museum and digital events at the Natural History Museum. The Old Royal Naval College is offering a podcast as well as online jigsaw puzzles, and children’s activities that tie into the KS2 curriculum and the Imperial War Museum has a dedicated online Home Learning Hub.

A wide range of other organisations are rising to the challenge too, including National Museums Scotland, The Wallace Collection, Waddesdon Manor, the Ashmolean, The Museum of Natural History (Oxford), Westminster Abbey, the Roman Baths, Leeds Castle, Kew Gardens, the Southbank Centre, the Historic Royal Palaces, the Royal Academy, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the RAF Museum and many more.

In the wake of COVID-19, Donoghue talked to blooloop about the positives that have emerged from the pandemic.

Top image kind courtesy of the V&A.

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charlotte coates

Charlotte Coates

Charlotte Coates is blooloop's editor. She is from Brighton, UK and previously worked as a librarian. She has a strong interest in arts, culture and information and graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in English Literature. Charlotte can usually be found either with her head in a book or planning her next travel adventure.

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