Durham Museum and Henry Doorly Zoo giving virtual field trips

 Courtesy of The Henry Doorly Zoo
Courtesy of The Henry Doorly Zoo (WOWT)
Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 4:35 PM CDT
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The coronavirus is causing many businesses to think outside the box. The answer for some is taking tours and field trips into people's homes through social media.

The Durham Museum is normally filled with students on field trips this time of year, but the coronavirus has emptied both hallways and classrooms inside.

"Having to postpone field trips, we still wanted to give students who are learning from home, we wanted them to have the opportunity to engage in the community," she said.

Jung is Director of Education at the Durham. She knew in order to continue teaching kids about the history of Omaha, they would have to get creative with an existing program of virtual field trips. The biggest change is the size of the online classes. Going from about 150 up to 300 kids daily.

"But we've really adapted them to be super interactive. They are all done live. So that kids can be at home and see their classmates watching with them every morning," said Jung.

Students can now ask real-time questions on a chat window. Jung says the interactivity is key.

"We've had just under 3,000 participants in the first two and a half weeks here," Jung said.

Another spot getting creative is the Henry Doorly Zoo. They also took an existing program and added to it. So far, it appears to be working.

"We're seeing that people are taking advantage. They're really enjoying the 2 o'clock Facebook feed and activities," said Elizabeth Mulkerrin.

Elizabeth Mulkerrin at the zoo says their online numbers have also been growing. Both attractions glad to be able to provide some sense of normalcy.

"I certainly hope it's brought history to life, and been a light to people who are stuck at home.," said Jung.

Both Jung and Mulkerrin say they believe the additions to their virtual tours are game-changers. They say this will strengthen the online programs in the future.