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Monday, April 23, 2018

Virtual Field Trips

Last week's post focused on field trips and how to integrate them into your curriculum. But what if you can't travel?

A quick internet search for "virtual field trips" brings up a dozen lists of "best virtual field trips." Here's one from my go-to blogger Glenn Wiebe. 

And, closer to home, for teachers unable to bring their students to Helena, we've been creating ways to bring Helena to you (some higher tech than others.)

Ellen Baumler just finished a virtual tour of Helena's Pioneer Cabin, "What Would You Bring?" Emigrant Families on Montana's Gold Rush Frontier (grades 3-8). The site is curated by the Montana Heritage Commission and Ellen took the tour she gives of the cabin and transformed it into a PowerPoint with a script that teachers can use in the classroom. We supplemented it with introductory exercise, post-tour discussion questions, and standards alignment and added it to our growing collection of PowerPoint Lesson Plans. It's really quite wonderful. I encourage you to check it out.

Laura Ferguson created a "virtual tour" (again based on a PowerPoint and script--though with interactive elements written in) of our exhibit Neither Empty Nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark. It's part of the larger Neither Empty nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark Lesson Plan. Turn to Appendix 4 (page 36) for instructions on how to modify the lesson without visiting the museum.     

This spring we are again offering special tours of the Mackay Gallery of Russell Art, given by "Nancy Russell (Charlie's wife and business manager) as portrayed by first person interpreter Mary Jane Bradbury. But even if you can't get to Helena, you can watch Mary Jane Bradbury touring the gallery as Nancy Russell on YouTube.

You can virtually explore the Montana State Capitol and the Original Governor's Mansion (OGM) on Google Maps. Neither have scripts, but for the Capitol, there's a static web exhibit featuring the art and history (just waiting for someone to design a web quest--those are still a thing, right?) And for the OGM, there's a scavenger hunt we developed for use with the virtual tour as part of the Original Governor's Mansion footlocker. (See pages 47-48 of the OGM foootlocker User Guide.)  Tour guide extraordinaire Bobi Harris is also working with colleagues to create a video tour of the Original Governor's Mansion. We'll add a link to it as soon as it's done.

Of course, computer tours are never as good as the real thing. To schedule actual tours of Montana's Museum at the Montana Historical Society or the Original Governor's Mansion, contact us at (406) 444-4794 or by email bharris2@mt.gov.

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