This winter, we’ve launched eight virtual museum tours for historical sites across Alberta and British Columbia. Going virtual is a creative and powerful way to share Canada’s unique historical locations with an audience of history-lovers from across the country. The tours currently include 360 degree views inside the museums, along with easy navigation from room to room and exhibit to exhibit. Museums can add their own hot spots to the tours, clickable locations that enrich the experience with images, videos and audio. You can explore these unique and fascinating tours below.
Bentley Museum – Bentley, AB
The Bentley Museum is housed in a 1924 farmhouse with an additional agricultural building on the site. The exhibits depict the way of life experienced by the first settlers from 1898 onward.
Blacksmith Shop Museum, Lacombe – Lacombe, AB
The Lacombe Blacksmith Shop Museum is dedicated to the story of blacksmithing in Lacombe. The shop was built in 1902, and is the oldest operating blacksmith shop in Alberta. It still stands on its original site with much of its original machinery still operational.
Doukhobor Discovery Center – Castlegar, BC
The Doukhobor Discovery Centre, located near Castlegar in BC, is home to ten historical buildings across ten acres of land. Visitors can enjoy indoor and outdoor displays and educational exhibits as they explore the grounds and discover Doukhobor history.
Fort Museum – Fort Macleod, AB
The Fort Museum is located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, on the site of Fort Macleod, a North-West Mounted Police Fort dating back to 1874. The Fort Museum is dedicated to educating the public about the history of the North-West Mounted Police and the impact they had on the development of western Canada.
Michener House Museum – Lacombe, AB
The Michener House Museum and Archives is located in one of Lacombe’s oldest remaining homes, the birthplace of the Hon. Roland Michener, Canada’s 20th Governor General from 1967-1974. The museum showcases items relating to the Michener Family as well as local artifacts dating from the beginning of the 20th Century.
Trethewey House Heritage Site – Abbotsford, BC
Trethewey House was built in 1919 for BC lumber baron Joseph Ogle “J.O.” Trethewey, who was then the president of the Abbotsford Lumber Company. The house has been extensively restored and is a designated municipal heritage site.
Vulcan Museum and Archives – Vulcan, AB
The Vulcan and District Historical Society is dedicated to sharing and celebrating the unique history of the town of Vulcan, Alberta.
Wadey House Visitor Centre – Blackfalds, AB
The Wadey Centre is a historic T. Eaton house built in 1916 by early settler George Wadey. The Wadey family lived in the home and were active, engaged Blackfalds’ residents for many years. Today, the building houses the Blackfalds & Area Historical Society and the town’s visitor centre.
On This Spot Webinars
In addition to launching these virtual tours, On This Spot recently held a three-part webinar series to help other museums create similar tours. The webinars were a big success, demonstrating the enormous potential of virtual tours within the context of historical sites and venues. Between 100-250 people signed up for each part of the series.
Don’t worry if you missed the original webinars—all three parts of the series are available to watch on YouTube.
Part One: Intro to Virtual Museum Tours
The world’s leading museums all have stunning virtual tours. They know that virtual tours get people engaged, generate excitement, and drive them to plan a visit. There’s no reason your museum can’t have one too. This webinar covers the benefits of having a virtual tour of your museum, and shows you some of the exciting new ways technology can complement and enhance the museum experience. You’ll learn about virtual tours, augmented reality, virtual reality, the hardware and software of virtual tours, how to market and present your virtual tour, and, most importantly, what all of this means for museums.
Part Two: Step-by-Step Guide on Virtual Tours
Developing a virtual tour for your museum might seem like a daunting task, but it’s a lot easier than you might think. During the first webinar in this series, we explained the basics of virtual tours. In this second webinar, we give you the tools to create your own tour and get it online. The webinar will cover how to use your phone to create 360 panorama photos; the types of software you can use to collect those photos into a tour; how to add hot spots and other types of content to bring your exhibits to life; and, where you can host and promote your tour.
Part Three: Taking Virtual Tours to the Next Level
In this third and final part of our Virtual Tours Webinar, we cover how to create exciting outdoor virtual tours in cities, parks, historic sites, and anywhere else you can think of; how to use different kinds of multimedia to go beyond history and cover subjects like geology, biodiversity, paleontology, climate change, and much more; how to turn your virtual tour into a fun game using puzzles and brain teasers to entertain while you educate; how to integrate your own audio and video to take the experience to the next level; and, how to get more eyes on your tour by integrating it with different online platforms.
The success of this series of webinars and of On This Spot’s new virtual tours demonstrates the power of the virtual platform to capture and celebrate Canada’s history. In the changing world we live in, creating virtual tours for museums and other historical landmarks is an invaluable way to reach new audiences and inspire both locals and visitors to learn about our history.