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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Learn more about the mysterious Stonehenge in Wiltshire with this 360-degree virtual tour.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marvel at the staggeringly grand state rooms at Holyrood Palace, home to monarchs in Scotland for 500 years, with this virtual tour.
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.
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
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.
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’.
Read about five unsung, female, natural history heroes who paved the way for future generations of female scientists.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
A blog post written by Professor Julia Lovell explores the contradictions of Maoism and its global forms.
Discover more about the rise and fall of one of the world’s most famous ocean liners, The Titanic, courtesy of History View.
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.
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.
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.
Read all about Dr Martha Jane Moody Stewart’s First World War experiences as a female medic.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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