History and Culture

Craving a history and culture fix? Look no further. Take a virtual tour around some of the world’s grandest stately homes and palaces, get the inside story on what went on behind the scenes during the world wars - from Bletchley Park to Anne Frank’s home, learn about the history of different cultures - from the birth of Maoism to the key events throughout Jewish history, or just relax and let our wonderful selection of poetry inspire you.

British History & Culture

Attention all James Bond fans! The Spycast podcast, hosted by Vince Houghton, curator of The International Spy Museum, features interviews with ex-spies, intelligence experts and espionage specialists.
Click: https://www.spymuseum.org/multimedia/spycast/

Read all about one of the UK’s first healthcare heroes, Gertrude Fenn, and the army of brave nurses who saved lives during WW1.
Click: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Gertrude-Fenn-World-War-One-Nurse/ 

British history lovers will appreciate this illustrated article about the Great Fire of London.
Click: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/The-Great-Fire-of-London/

Learn more about our NHS heroes with this article which explores our National Health Service’s evolution – from its birth, to current times.
Click: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Birth-of-the-NHS/ 

Think you know everything there is to know about literary legend Charles Dickens? Uncover any gaps in your general knowledge with this article called, '7 things you probably didn't know about Charles Dickens and his family home'. That’s Quiz Night covered!
Click: https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/facts-charles-dickens-writer-children-family-home/

George Washington Wilson was the best known royal photographer of his era. This display includes portraits made for Queen Victoria's own photograph collection, as well as some stunning snaps of Scottish scenery.
Click: https://www.rct.uk/collection/themes/exhibitions/george-washington-wilson-queen-victorias-photographer-in-scotland

This special exhibition, launched in 2018, was curated to celebrate the 70th birthday of Prince Charles, and features items of note especially selected by the Prince himself.
Click: https://www.rct.uk/collection/themes/exhibitions/prince-patron/buckingham-palace 

This exhibition, entitled 'Fashioning a Reign - 90 years of style from the Queen's wardrobe', follows the famous monarch’s sartorial choices throughout her tenure. 
Click: https://www.rct.uk/collection/themes/exhibitions/fashioning-a-reign/windsor-castle/explore-the-exhibition#/ 

From the National Museum of Wales comes a fascinating picture series of heroic individuals, their stories and the medals they won over the course of the last century.
Click: https://museum.wales/articles/2020-05-05/VE-Day-75-Medals-of-Heroism-Service-and-Sacrifice/

An online escape to beautiful Bath is an ideal remedy for the lockdown blues. Marvel at the world-famous Roman Baths, enhanced with comprehensive commentaries. 
Click: https://www.romanbaths.co.uk/walkthrough 

Ever wondered why Greenwich Mean Time originates in the UK? Curious about what a Meridian Line actually is? Discover the answers to these questions and more with Royal Museums.
Click: https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/prime-meridian-greenwich 

Although it’s now the official residence of the Prince of Wales and wife Camilla, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a peek behind the ornate gates of Britain’s Clarence House.
Click: https://www.rct.uk/collection/near-you/clarence-house#/

The British Crown Jewels comprise some of the world’s most impressive royal regalia. Usually on a special display at the Tower of London, you can now learn all about these legendary gems without leaving home.
Click: https://www.rct.uk/collection/themes/trails/the-crown-jewels?utm_campaign=574326_2020_06_1&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email_marketing&dm_i=4SVR,CB5I,U2LN7,1DLUT,1 

Take an online tour around Hampton Court Palace, the one-time home of notorious British Monarch, Henry VIII. Amidst the jaw-dropping backdrops of the Palace’s great array of grand rooms, including the Great Hall and Haunted Gallery, you’ll also get the lowdown on King Henry’s high-profile public dramas and scandalous private life. 
Click:  www.hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace/#gs.78kmn9

London’s legendary Underground Tube is famous the world over for being a feat of modern-day engineering. Find out more about this London transport staple, including footage of formerly unseen parts of the complex tube network, in London Transport’s ‘Hidden London Hangout’ video series.
Click: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKLSoLnrWgHx5kkCaH4iF8nin1s_8taNU

London’s Gresham College was founded in 1597 and has been giving free lectures for over 400 years. Now you can enjoy these engaging and interesting lectures from your own home thanks to the extensive collection of recordings on Gresham’s website. With a huge variety of lectures to listen to, covering subjects including science, art, politics, history, music and more, with new lectures released regularly, there’s something for every taste.
Click: www.gresham.ac.uk/watch/   
Or Click: www.youtube.com/user/GreshamCollege?mc_cid=4ffb51e9e1&mc_eid=8cbb12cfd2

The British Library boasts an extensive variety of digital content, ranging from online maps of British interests in Asia dating back to the 18th Century, to a sound archive with 95,000 recordings of classical music, oral history and sounds and dialects. History buffs, eat your heart out!
Click: www.bl.uk/catalogues-and-collections/digital-collections

An online exhibition with photos and explanations about D-Day, this exhibition explores the success of ‘Operation Overlord’ and the events that unfolded on this historical day.
Click: https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/d-day/gQcirO57

A blog post written by Professor Julia Lovell explores the contradictions of Maoism and its global forms.
Click: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/blog/al-rodhan-2019-maoism-julia-lovell

Discover more about the rise and fall of one of the world’s most famous ocean liners, The Titanic, courtesy of History View.
Click: https://historyview.org/library/titanic/

The Royal Palaces collection offers a wealth of quirky information about the not so run-of-the-mill happenings behind the guilded gates of our monarchy’s homes - from how the Waterloo Table at Windsor is polished, through to playing a conservator reconstructing the puzzle pieces of a broken Chinese vase.
Click: www.rct.uk/discover/art-history-and-stories

To commemorate the First World War, the BBC has released an audio tape of interviews recorded by the BBC and Imperial War Museums, discussing key events of 1918.
Click: www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0001qtq

Hertfordshire’s famous Easton Neston, a Baroque style country house designed by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, has opened its virtual doors. Join Eye Revolution’s tour of this incredible residence.
Click: https://www.eyerevolution.co.uk/tours/EastonNestonManor/

Spine-tingling, first-hand tales from former members of Royal Air Force tell the story of this British Institution – from its beginnings as the Army Air Corps, to its part in the Second World War, Berlin Air Lift and Iraq.
Click: www.rafstories.org/

Ever wondered where the Queen takes her tea? Walk around Buckingham Palace’s 775 rooms, including the White Drawing Room, Throne Room and Blue Drawing Room. Along the tour, you’ll learn about the history of the furniture and the architecture.
Click www.royal.uk/virtual-tours-buckingham-palace

St George’s Chapel, Windsor was almost destroyed by fire in 1992, but was faithfully reconstructed to its original and impressive glory. Take a look at this beautiful building during this in-depth, virtual tour.
Click: www.eyerevolution.co.uk/virtual-tours/st-georges-chapel-windsor-360-tours/

Marvel at the staggeringly grand state rooms at Holyrood Palace, home to monarchs in Scotland for 500 years, with this virtual tour.
Click: www.eyerevolution.co.uk/tours/PalaceOfHolyroodhouse/

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a UK institution. Now you can see what makes the world famous news hub tick with this online tour of London’s New Broadcasting House. 
Click: www.eyerevolution.co.uk/blog/bbc-new-broadcasting-house/

The UK’s Bletchley Park is best known as the ‘home’ of World War 2’s famous codebreakers. This website showcases a variety of machines used by these British legends, as well as some of the codes that they were deciphering and information about their backgrounds.
Click: https://bletchleypark.org.uk/our-story/the-challenge

Ever wanted to know what lies behind the doors of London’s Cabinet War Rooms, also known as the Churchill War Rooms? Take a sneak peek inside the legendary basement rooms below Whitehall, which housed historical meetings with leading civil servants, military strategists and members of the cabinet-including former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. If walls could talk! 
Click: www.iwm.org.uk/history/a-short-history-of-the-cabinet-war-rooms

Learn more about the mysterious Stonehenge in Wiltshire with this 360-degree virtual tour.
Click: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/stonehenge360/

Worldwide History & Culture

Famous Historian Ian Kershaw’s lecture, titled ‘Out of the Ashes: Europe’s Rebirth after WW2, 1945-1949’, can be watched or listened to on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPvU5FY5kOo

A virtual tour takes you into some of the Palace of Versailles’ grandest rooms, including the Hall of Mirrors, where the walkway’s glittering chandeliers and opulent gold furnishings are dizzyingly reflected in the myriad of mirrors that line the walls.
Click: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/palace-of-versailles?hl=en

If you’ve ever wanted to witness the beauty of the Sistine chapel, now you can! This virtual, 360-degree tour showcases the world-famous paintings in detail - without having to schlep there.
Click www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/cappella-sistina/tour-virtuale.html

Take a look at how the other half live with a sneak peek behind the gilded gates of Europe’s most famous castles and palaces, including Britain’s Buckingham Palace and Catherine Palace in St Petersberg.
Click www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/architecture-design/google-arts-culture-app-europe-castles

This YouTube video takes a fascinating look at the story of the Exodus, explored through pictures, videos and virtual reality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XObk07uabLI&list=PLLgqOez346ZOntez788AiqmcS1HgHpd3y&index=2&t=0s

Get your daily history fix with History.com’s ‘On This Day In History’ email. Just sign up to access a new article each day, exploring different historical events from around the world.
Click: www.history.com/this-day-in-history

A video documentary exploring three of the world's most famous cultural sites - Angkor Wat, Troy and Persepolis brings them to life via virtual reality.
Click: www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3bOL8j3ypQ

The State Hermitage Museum, housed in The Winter Palace in St Petersburg, is one of the most famous museums in the world. Get a 360 degree look around this beautiful building and its host of inspiring galleries.
Click www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/portal/hermitage/panorama/!ut/p/z1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfIjo8zi_R0dzQyNnQ28LMJMzA0cLR09XLwCDUyd3Mz0w8EKDHAARwP9KGL041EQhd_4cP0oVCv8Pb2BJviHmHr4-4c5GzmbQBXgMaMgNzTCINNREQAJ272H/dz/d5/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/?lng=en

Read all about Dr Martha Jane Moody Stewart’s First World War experiences as a female medic.
Click https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55b52e37e4b0addeebb56e63/t/57e8db0115d5db790f3eaab8/1474878219239/Martha%27s+War.pdf

The Great War took more than just a physical toll – it affected a nation’s mental health too. Read more about it here. Click: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55b52e37e4b0addeebb56e63/t/5da579e0c588be5b4ad64a04/1571125742024/Mental+Health+Booklet.pdf

Read about five unsung, female, natural history heroes who paved the way for future generations of female scientists.
Click: https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/five-natural-history-trailblazers-you-may-not-have-heard-of/DwKSt5W2kP_AJg

This creative drawing activity, courtesy of Leicester City Council, means you can put pen to paper just like the Ancient Egyptians did, using symbols and a unique grid system. 
Click: https://leicester.gov.uk/media/186591/egyptian-drawing-sheet.pdf

Brush up on your British history with this article exploring ‘The History of the Magna Carta’.
Click: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/The-Origins-of-the-Magna-Carta/

This illustrated article about the Battle of the Somme, is a riveting read for any history aficionados out there.
Click: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Battle-of-the-Somme/ 

Travel through the Acropolis in Athens with your own, personal tour, featuring pictures and panoramas of the most prominent monuments like the world-famous Parthenon.
Click: https://www.acropolisvirtualtour.gr/

Get just a taste of what’s on offer at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens with their online collection, boasting more than 11,000 items of Hellenistic culture.
Click: https://www.namuseum.gr/en/collections/ 

Explore the breathtaking beauty of the Palace of Versailles in France. You can tour around this famous landmark at your own leisure, taking in the intricate detail of the ionic building’s stunning architecture.
Click: https://www.google.com/maps/@48.8045405,2.1201304,2a,82.2y,111.06h,62.51t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s17LYVJMPu3wMRFiCW8pdGA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has released a revealing podcast in which museum specialist and curator, Mary Elliott, talks about her role.
Click: https://slate.com/business/2016/09/working-how-does-a-museum-curator-work.html

Learn more about the origins & history of the transatlantic slave trade and the campaign for abolition, thanks to these educational and informative videos, activities and articles.
Click: http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/campaignforabolition/abolition.html 

Take a virtual trip to Washington DC and explore its rich culture and history, including the Lincoln Memorial and the US Capitol Building.
Click: https://washington.org/discover-dc-360

Check out this virtual tour of the public spaces in the White House in Washington DC! You can sit amongst American political royalty as you explore the beautiful building.
Click: https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8977777,-77.0365458,2a,75y,220.93h,73.2t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sZCxlyiUL5-_wWf75296KRA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656 

Learn all about the beautiful Cambodian Angkor’s history and architecture from your own living room.
Click: https://www.virtualangkor.com/

99% Invisible takes a deep dive into all the forgotten aspects of culture, art, architecture and design that make our world the way it is.
Click: https://99percentinvisible.org/

Uluru in Australia’s Northern Territory, is truly a sight for your eyes.Over 550 million years old, standing at 348 metres high, and steeped in indigenous cultural history, it’s easy to see how this enormous sandstone wonder draws in thousands of tourists a year from around the globe. Now you can enjoy virtual tours of this amazing place without the 26-hour plane ride.
Click: https://parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru/discover/virtual-tour/

Experiencing domestic chore burnout? This article entitled A Decade of Domesticity: How the 1950s Made the Modern Home makes for an interesting alternative.
Click: https://www.historyextra.com/period/20th-century/a-decade-of-domesticity-how-the-1950s-made-the-modern-home/

The Battle of the Sexes is explored in this article, The Status of Women in Late Antiquity: Examining the Socio-political Climate, Societal Values, and Gender Roles.
Click: http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/1765/the-status-of-women-in-late-antiquity-examining-the-sociopolitical-climate-societal-values-and-gender-roles

Political stuff-ups are nothing new! Re-visit some of the worst with this article, Who is History's worst political adviser?
Click: https://www.historytoday.com/archive/head-head/who-history%E2%80%99s-worst-political-adviser

In a series called The History of the World in 100 Objects, Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, narrates 100 programmes for the BBC, recounting humanity's history through the objects we have made. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nrtd2/episodes/downloads

Another BBC podcast, The Museum of Lost Objects, traces the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted from Iraq and Syria, India and Pakistan.
Click: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0738jc2/episodes/downloads

This How Stuff Works podcast series contains over 300 episodes, covering all things history and culture, including the first French woman to become a court painter, a brief history of Michelangelo’s Pietà and the mysterious Phaistos Disk.
Click: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/stuff-you-missed-in-history-cl-21124503/ 

The Soonish podcast series is the brainchild of MIT trained technology journalist Wade Roush, and covers stories and conversations around how the choices we make affect the technological world of tomorrow.
Click: https://player.fm/series/soonish-2515625

The Museum at FIT’s Fashion Culture podcast provides new perspectives on the history, impact, and evolution of fashion.
Click: https://player.fm/series/series-2577632

This tour takes you on a detailed walking tour of Rome’s biggest attraction, The Colosseum. It’s so realistic, it’s like you’re actually there! Belissimo! 
Click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJeF7hDB0UA

Jewish History & Culture

Ever wondered where Londoners originally came from? The Museum of London’s records on this subject date back to the 17th century and explore this subject in detail, including the arrival of The Huguenots and formation of the Jewish community. 
Click: https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/application/files/3614/5442/6662/where-do-londoners-come-from.pdf

Combining history with natural beauty, this tour takes you around Israel’s Old City, and religious sites—complete with 360-degree views of each area
Click https://samsungvr.com/view/Wv_0tcndBOG

This link offers you a 24-hour, live view of the Kotel in Jerusalem, Israel where you can look on as people visit this sacred site. You can also put a note in the wall virtually. Just get the wording of your note to Jewish information hub Aish via their website, and they will ensure that it gets to the Kotel for you.
Click: https://www.aish.com/w/46127727.html

One of the world’s Seven Wonders, Petra in Jordan, is inaccessible to many, but thanks to iGoogle’s virtual tour of the mysterious city, you can clamber among the cliffs and experience this ancient feat of architecture from wherever you are.
Click: www.google.co.uk/maps/about/behind-the-scenes/streetview/treks/petra/

In this YouTube video, Michael Freedland and Daniel Finklestein meet at JW3 to discuss Michael’s book on one of the Jewish Community’s most remarkable and iconic figures, Sir Ben Helfgott. The Olypmic athlete and Holocaust survivor has spent more than 50 years building institutions that remember the Holocaust and teach tolerance.
Click: https://jewishonline.jw3.org.uk/blog/jw3-tv-sir-ben-helfgott-one-of-the-boys

This two-part, JW3 video features William Tyler, an experienced adult educator and LJCC scholar, trace Russia’s torturous path over the last century and explores the country’s struggle to find a path towards Western-style democracy. A two-part series on Russian History.
Part One Click: https://jewishonline.jw3.org.uk/blog/jw3-tv-from-revolution-to-putin-1917-2017-part-one
Part Two Click: https://jewishonline.jw3.org.uk/blog/jw3-tv-from-revolution-to-putin-1917-2017-part-two

This virtual tour of Anne Frank’s Amsterdam home reveals what it was like to live in the cluster of small rooms hidden behind a bookcase. Available to read are various related articles and extracts from her world-famous diary. www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/secret-annex/landing/

Looking at Anne Frank’s life from different perspectives are these articles exploring thought provoking topics such as ‘Was Anne Frank Betrayed?’ and ‘The German Invasion of the Netherlands’.
Click: www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/go-in-depth/

Want to brush up on your Jewish History? YouTube channel ‘A Crash Course in Jewish History’, hosted by historian Ken Spiro, offers a series of bite-sized, 10-minute episodes exploring different themes in Jewish history.
Click: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVTqoofQtWPhpx5lNmW4Ls5bW11kjKPw

Explore and discuss Anti-Semitism and Religious Intolerance in Aristocratic Age English Literature by reading this thought provoking article.
Click http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/1009/anti-semitism-and-religious-intolerance-in-aristocratic-age-english-literature

This article explores the Origins of Ashkenazi Judaism and the Yiddish language.
Click: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2017.00087/full 

An interesting piece exploring the complex history of the Kindertransport, which saved 10,000 children.
Click: https://theconversation.com/the-1938-kindertransport-saved-10-000-children-but-its-hard-to-describe-it-as-purely-a-success-107299

This talk explores the Jewish Military Museum's Collection, with a particular focus on the contribution of Jewish servicemen and women.
Click: https://jewishonline.jw3.org.uk/blog/ef5kubkavrfsdhztxqmou5clzo56ao-97cxn


Reading, or listening to, poetry is a fantastic way to relax, unwind and expand both your knowledge and vocabulary. Poetry is easy and accessible, as it doesn’t require investment in reading a long book, but provides short, sharp shots of inspiration. Give it a try!

Listen to Royal Shakespeare Company actors recite Shakespeare’s Sonnets, including the aptly named, ‘Sonnets of Solitude’ collection, over at the RSC’s YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSIxo_5qCKQjrXHGJvVQ7ppaBkH5D8P2b

If the spoken word moves you, check out the Poetry Foundation’s inspiring series, ‘Poem of the day’. With an audio recording of classic and contemporary poems released daily, the series also includes a host of other literary readings and discussions to enjoy.
Click www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts

In lieu of their annual 10-day summer event, this year the Ledbury Poetry Festival has created an archive from previous years’ events for people to immerse themselves in. Your literary fix in a flash.
Click www.poetry-festival.co.uk/archive/

The National Poetry Library has carefully curated a wide range of audio poems to help add depth to your day. Click www.nationalpoetrylibrary.org.uk/online-poetry/poems?f%5B0%5D=field_poem_format%3A5

The Poetry Archives boast thousands of audio poems available in a moment. Easy to navigate, the site allows you to search by poet, poem name or you can simply let your curiosity lead your exploration of this huge audio library.
Click https://poetryarchive.org/explore/?type=poems

Celebrities, including John Lithgow and Morgan Freeman, take the mic to read 50 classic poems on YouTube’s Poet’s Corner. Enjoy!

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