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9 Virtual Field Trips That Make History Come Alive | MakeUseOf

Don’t have time to travel to historic locations? Visit these fascinating sites from the comfort of your living room.

Are you tired of studying facts and memorizing dates of historical events? What if you could be there, right where it happened? Whether you are a student or a history buff, you can enjoy visiting worldwide museums and historical attractions right from your living room.

So if you’ve got a thing for history, why not virtually visit one of these museums or historic sites today?

1. Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (Whistler, British Columbia, Canada)

This is a museum tour, but it’s a must-see if you’re interested in the history of Canadian Indigenous people. In this beautiful virtual tour, you can walk through the exhibits as if you are there.

Learn about the lives, history, and culture of the Squamish and Lil’wat people in western Canada. Click on points of interest to bring up video guides along the way.

On the website, you’ll also find audio tours filled with First Nations storytelling, music, and cultural information. You can even learn crafts with video demonstrations and watch interviews with community influencers.

2. The Acropolis (Athens, Greece)

The Greek word "acropolis" refers to a citadel or a complex built on a high hill. At this famous Greek landmark, you’ll find the ruins of many structures built nearly 2,400 years ago. Whether you are drawn to the Acropolis by an interest in religion, philosophy, mythology, or architecture, you’ll be captivated by this online photographic tour.

Enter through the Propylaia (entrance gate), and click through high-resolution images to explore the famous temples: Athena Nike, Erechtheion, and the Parthenon.

Stop wherever you like, turn 360 degrees, and enjoy the panoramic views of Athens from the top of the hill. The best part is you can walk through all the ancient structures without having to climb any stairs.

3. Mount Rushmore National Memorial (Keystone, South Dakota, USA)

If you’ve never been able to visit Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills National Forest, now’s the time to do it from your computer.

Mount Rushmore is a sculptor’s interpretation of the most influential people in American history. It took over 14 years to carve, and it attracts about 3 million tourists every year.

View this incredible historic site from all angles on this tour powered by Google Earth. Stroll down the Avenue of Flags, hike the Presidential Trail, and peek inside sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s studio.

Don't forget to check out the National Park Service's informative video to see how the carvings were scanned for digitization. Meanwhile, there are many other ways to learn about American history if you'd like to know more.

4. Google Anne Frank House (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

If you’re interested in World War II and Holocaust history, but can’t get to Amsterdam, you can still visit the Anne Frank house online.

Here, you can explore the secret rooms where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years during the German invasion of the Netherlands.

See where Anne wrote her diary, and click on notes as you move through each room. Explore the outside of the building and the neighborhood, and find stories from Anne’s life on the Google Arts and Culture website.

5. The Great Wall of China (Northern China)

Construction of the Great Wall of China began as early as the 5th century B.C., and continued through several Chinese dynasties, possibly through the 17th century A.D. It is made primarily of earth and stone and continues for more than 13,000 miles altogether.

Take in the natural beauty surrounding the Great Wall without the crowds. Click on the arrows to move through the mountains in this beautiful 360-degree tour. Make sure to wear VR googles for the best viewing experience, but if you don’t have them, the videos still provide a stunning experience.

For a small fee, you can also book a shared or private guided virtual tour to explore the spectacular scenery, discover the 2,000 years of history, and ask questions along the way.

6. The Colosseum (Rome, Italy)

Like our modern stadiums, the Colosseum was designed to put on entertainment events for up to 50,000 spectators. In its 400 years of use, the arena hosted gladiator contests, wild animal hunts, and even mock naval battles.

On the Colosseum site, you can explore the history and architecture of several ancient and modern Roman attractions, including the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Pantheon.

Watch narrated video tours on the site, or purchase a ticket to a live guided tour. You can even sign up for a live pasta-making class to get an authentic Italian food experience.

7. The Tomb of Queen Meresankh III (Giza, Egypt)

While the tomb of Queen Meresankh III isn’t one of the more famous Egyptian pyramids, it is considered one of the most beautiful, and you can visit by way of a 3D virtual tour.

This is one of several tours presented by Harvard University’s Giza Project that allow you to experience Egyptian historical sites, almost as if you were visiting in person. Most notable is the colorful bas-relief artwork that is surprisingly well-preserved.

Since the tomb is empty now, the creators have made an accompanying video of Meresankh, guiding you through the reconstructed tomb as it might have looked 4,600 years ago.

Zoom in and out, turn to view the rooms from all directions, and click on the floor circles to move through the attraction. You can also click on the wall circles to get more information about the artifacts you are viewing. Best of all, you can see it up close and without anyone infringing on your personal space.

Related: The 7 Best Virtual Museums You Can Tour Without Leaving Home

8. The Terra Cotta Warriors (Shaanxi province, China)

At this archeological site, which was only uncovered in the 1970s, you can view the exhibit which houses nearly 8,000 statues that are more than 2,000 years old. The emperor Qin Shi Huang (also responsible for the Great Wall of China) may have employed up to 700,000 laborers for 30 to 40 years to create the terra cotta army.

On this virtual tour, you can walk amongst the soldiers, getting much closer than you would if you were visiting the archaeologic site in person. Unfortunately, the subtitles are not in English, but the warriors and the traditional military music will keep your attention.

9. Machu Picchu (Couzco Region, Peru)

Built in the 1400s, this site was probably a palace for an Incan ruler. It was abandoned in the 1500s and not discovered again until 1911.

This virtual tour features stunning 360-degree views from several lookout points at the attraction. The narration is filled with geographic information about the location, as well as historical and cultural facts about the Incan people.

Embark on a Virtual Journey

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a teacher or a student; a homebody or a world traveler, at least one of these tours will inspire you to dig deeper into history and learn about famous sites all around the world.

When you can't travel, don't worry. With these virtual tours, you can visit all the historic sites you've ever wanted to see, without worrying about the cost, the journey, or the crowds.