As the fall season arrives, my thoughts turn to genealogy research trips of yore, when Jim and I went to museums, archives and courthouses, visited with distant cousins and explored old home sites.
Bored with browsing the internet and looking through old files, I yearn to travel again and visit some of the places on my bucket list — the Daughters of the American Revolution Library, the National Archives and the Library of Congress, to name a few.
Fortunately, museums and archives throughout the world are responding to the millions of people who have similar thoughts. Although their facilities are closed, many organizations are developing virtual tours. Each tour has a distinct approach.
The Allen County Library at Fort Wayne, Indiana, is famous for its genealogy-related resources. The library has an online tour in which people can see what the entrance plaza and research rooms are like.
RootsTech has a video (Episode 9 of the 2020 Conference series) of the five floors of the Family History Center at Salt Lake City. The types of resources and equipment on each floor are discussed. Online tours such as the ones of the Fort Wayne and Salt Lake City facilities will be worthwhile when planning trips for the future.
I love the “360” virtual tour of the Louvre Museum at Paris. As you enter each area, the tour allows you to look around the room and hear the visitors ooh and aah and discuss artwork in a variety of languages.
Although the tour gives insight into the size of artwork, the excitement of visitors, the architecture of the facility and the types of displays, they do not include a discussion of what is seen. Since I was there about three years ago, the 360-degree tour brought back amazing memories.
Another exceptional online tour is of Crystal Bridges Museum at Bentonville, Arkansas. The free museum was created by Alice Walton, youngest daughter of Sam Walton — founder of Walmart.
The extraordinary museum, surrounded by 120 acres, connects art with nature. A wonderful aspect of the online tour is the abundance of captions that describe what is shown.
The McDonald County Historical Society has developed a virtual tour of its museum. For several months, volunteers have been selecting and cropping photographs, writing captions, organizing them into a tour and incorporating them into their website. Some of the people who have worked diligently are LaSandra McKeever, Lynn Tatum, Karen Dobbs, Phyllis Chancellor, Dylan Thomas, Judy Rickett, Sam Alps, Gayla Baker, Judy Duncan, Gene Hall, Kayla Langford, Margarette Mitchell and Kathy Underwood.
A life-size figure representing local suffragette Rettie Foster Tatum is one of the museum’s latest additions. Born in 1868, “Ettie” was a teacher, wife and mother, as well as an active participant in political, religious and social activities. Ettie’s arrival at the museum is especially appropriate because this year is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that guarantees women the right to vote.
Comments or suggestions? Contact Frankie Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.