Virtual Tours Around Michigan During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Your Local Joe April 16, 2020
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Now, you can travel to the Great Lakes and the other parts of Michigan — all in the comfort of your home!

In the light of the state executive order to #stayhomestaysafe due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several institutions came up with creative ways to travel all over the state. One of the most notable is Pure Michigan, the state’s official travel and tourism website. It has recently launched the #VirtualPureMichigan campaign, which offers virtual tours, live streams, and other interactive means in an effort to bring travel experiences directly into people’s homes.

Butterfly Exhibit | William J. Hebert for Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 

The quarantined public can get a sneak peek on what is happening in popular destinations like Alpena, Mackinaw City, and Frankenmuth; or visit quaint beach towns along Lake Huron and Lake Michigan without having to leave their homes, through Pure Michigan’s virtual reality posts on its website and social media accounts in the coming weeks. This will also help the people in preparing for their next trips after the shutdown.

Here are just a few of the other virtual travel experiences that you might want to check out:

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

This three-storey brick building in Detroit which Henry Ford built in 1904 is the birthplace of the Ford Model T, supposed to be the first affordable automobile that made car travel accessible to middle-class Americans. Modeled after the old textile mills in New England, Ford Piquette Avenue Plant now offers a 3D virtual tour on its website.

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

This institution in Dearborn features a vast collection of artifacts related to American history, a significant number of which are available for online viewing. Iconic artifacts in the digital collection include the bus where Rose Parks protested against segregation laws, the first car built by Henry Ford, and the chair that Abraham Lincoln sat on when he was assassinated. In addition to its digital collection, the museum also offers virtual tours of its exhibits, particularly the Mathematica, which was designed by renowned designer-couple Charles and Ray Eames in the 1960s. In addition, the museum’s online resources and its Innovate Curriculum can be downloaded for free, while episodes of its Emmy award-winning TV series, “Innovation Series,” can be watched on its YouTube channel.

Michigan History Museum

This five-floor museum in downtown Lansing now offers virtual tours. Michigan History Museum contains artifacts that are connected to the state’s rich history, from the time of the Native Americans to the late 20th century. The flagship of the Michigan History Museum System, the institution has also recently launched Michiganology.org, a site dedicated to the study of Michigan, where new and exciting content like state archives, private manuscripts, maps, and photographs are available.

Michigan Science Center

The Michigan Science Center has virtual tours for children of all ages. The site has several galleries like the Health and Wellness Gallery where visitors can learn more about the human body and the Lunar Dining and Space Gallery which offers a glimpse on space travel. It also features ECHO Live!, where educators present live science experiments from its Distance Learning studio.

Dossin Great Lakes Museum

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is a maritime museum in Detroit. It places special interest on the city’s role on national and regional maritime history. Ever-providing a unique service to the maritime community during this quarantine, its Detroit RiverCam captures passing freighters, sailboats, and rowing shells along the Detroit River for the benefit of boat watching enthusiasts all over the country.

Cranbrook Art Museum

Located in Bloomfield Hills, the museum offers 3D virtual tours of its four current exhibits: “Ruth Adler Schnee: Modern Designs for Living,” “Christy Matson: Crossings,” “In the Vanguard: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, 1950-1969,” “Landlord Colors: on Art, Economy, and Materiality.” The videos come with details regarding the exhibits and the artists.

Detroit Zoo

Live webcams of penguins, otters, snow monkeys, and peregrine falcons who are nesting in the zoo’s iconic water tower can now be streamed online. In its effort to bring the zoo to its visitors, Detroit Zoo features Virtual Vitamin Z, which contains educational content and live streams of animals; videos can either be watched on the website itself or on YouTube.After you’ve exhausted your virtual travel list, you can take a virtual paddle tour and experience Voyageur Island and Rotary Park in Sault Ste. Marie in this video. Lastly, be sure to catch PBS Television’s Under the Radar Michigan, which includes episodes that feature museums in Michigan, stories from the U.P., and many others.

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Your Local Joe

I live between Las Vegas and Lexington. Have been in Lexington since 1984. So if you have any questions about the area, I know it.

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