As an architecture major working on historic preservation, browsing through visual archives of historic places feels just like Netflixing for me. During this past month, thanks to some conversations I had with peers and newsletters I regularly got from non-profits and historic sites, I’ve come to know many interesting online resources that have content related to historic places. I know that all of us are quarantined at home at this point, and we all miss our vacation travels. Browsing through these resources can actually be a very good virtual tour and learning opportunity. Take a look! You will find exciting stories behind these places you’ve never heard and hopefully add to that list of destinations you want to visit for the future.
12 Distinctive Destinations and Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios to Virtually Explore
This is a list put together by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Many of these historic museums have developed virtual tours with audio and visual materials that you can access from home. My favorite is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami (an early 20th-century villa overlooking the Biscayne Bay), George Eastman Museum in Rochester (get to know the father of Kodak and history of photography!), and Thomas Cole National Historic Site (get to know the famous Hudson River School in American art history).
Explore America’s Main Streets
There are many places like Downtown Bryan that we call historic Main Streets. They are usually places filled with small businesses and the embodiment of local history and culture. Main Street America is a non-profit that supports the preservation and revitalization of such historic places. Reading through some of their success stories (my favorite is Natchitoches, Louisiana), you will definitely find new things you want to experience at your next road trip destination.
Explore Texas History at Home
This is a list of resources put together by the Texas Historical Commission. My favorite is their YouTube Channel, which has so many fascinating episodes about Texas history and historic sites. I simply turn it on while cooking or cleaning the apartment. They are so informative and tell interesting stories. There is also a page for themed tours in Texas (architecture, arts, cowboy culture, military, industry, etc.), where you’ll find a huge number of routes and sites that may be interesting to you!
Mingqian Liu is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Architecture