Use your device to take a virtual trip through historic sites around Illinois
Ah, spring. Field trip season! If you’re wondering why we’re talking about field trips when we’re all under a stay-at-home order, it’s because field trips can be virtual. And if we’ve learned nothing else during the age of coronavirus, it’s that virtual reality is the next-best thing to the real thing.
Here are seven Illinois-centric “field trips” you can take through your favorite electronic device:
- University of Illinois: Illinois students have created a tour of the Champaign-Urbana campus that includes everything from academics, athletics, recreation, arts and a bunch of things in between.
- Starved Rock: You can get virtual guided hikes and audio tours through the park, though this one requires a bit more work — you have to download an app. The Prairie State Hike App provides access to dozens of the best guided hikes in the state.
- Peoria Riverfront Museum: According to its website, “Our virtual museum will draw on the resources of our staff, collection and exhibitions as the nation’s only museum of art, science, history and achievement to make content accessible on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, our website and through email.” Don’t miss the Da Vinci portion.
- Lincoln Home National Historic Site: A panoramic slide show accompanied by small slices of text provide a beautiful, comprehensive look at Abe Lincoln’s home in Springfield. Ideal for any age.
- Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site: This YouTube video takes you on a tour of a prehistoric civilization in Collinsville. Cahokia was the center of Mississippian Indian culture from A.D. 900 to 1200. Another that’s good for all ages, and you get an all-encompassing look in less than 20 minutes.
- Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site: About 20 miles northwest of Springfield, the site is a reconstruction of a village where Lincoln spent his early adulthood. Pictures and text are featured in a glimpse of 12 log cabins, a tavern, 10 workshops, stores, mills and a school. (You’ll need a Java-enabled browser.)
- Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum: “Kid Reporter” Michael Geheren narrates a 3 1/2-minute video that tours the library and museum. Be warned: After watching this, you’ll want to hop in your car and make an in-person visit. Patience, patience …
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