Modern History: Shuttered museums take their content online

With parks and museums closed, people are turning to online content like never before for learning and entertainment.

“The Texas Historical Commission is doing a lot right now with online programming,” Sam Bell Maxey House director Kaitlyn Ammon.

Last week, the house gave away entertainment kits, each with different themes. The Victorian theme included toys like the thaumatrope and a phenakistoscope and information on Victorian parlour games. Another one was themed as a tea party, and included the supplies to make different tea party themed crafts.

However, since all historical sites are now shut down in the state, Ammon said the Texas Historical Commission stepped up and put together a whole page of different historical activities, at

“We have a huge collection online,” THC Communications Director Justin Minsker said. “As families are creating new routines and learning how to educate students from home, we are providing free instructive resources about Texas history, preservation, and heritage tourism.

“We’re going to be adding a Chisholm Trail page with coloring sheets, word searches and other downloadable activities.”

The site includes links to the learning resources webpage, the commission’s YouTube channel, mobile tours and travel guides and even a Texas history blog.

In Idabel, Oklahoma, The Museum of the Red River has posted a slide show featuring the recent Harold Stevenson exhibit, featured on YouTube at The museum is looking to add future online content, said Steven Ratcliffe, the museum communication’s director.

“My wife is a schoolteacher,” he said. “She’s recorded reading a few books, and we’re going to get those up there.”

The museum’s website,, also features links to view some of the collections they have.

Over at the Valley of The Caddo Museum, Michael Nickey said besides what has been posted to its Facebook page, there isn’t a whole lot of content online, but the museum is looking into it.

“Our group is somewhat technically challenged,” he said.

However, he has been in contact with a local videographer, and they are working on it.

“We are going to do some videos,” he said.

The Lamar County Historical Museum has some photos online of the museum’s interiors, at, but could not be reached for comment.

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