Wednesday 12 August 2020

Make an exhibition of yourself: 12 Great virtual things to do in May

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Museums and theatres remain closed and although they are busy trying to fit the 1.5 metre social distancing rule into their daily new normal practice, there is no way of telling if they will actually open their doors on May 21. So here is some more virtual fun.

Make an exhibition of yourself
As if you haven’t been corona-ed enough the Amsterdam Museum is preparing a virtual exhibition about Amsterdammers’ everyday experiences during the lockdown. Your written stories, photographs, videos and audiofragments are all welcome at the museum. Everything from memories, wishes for the future and contemplations will find a place in the display. Corona in de Stad starts from May 15. Website

Bag a burial mound
If you are an archaeology enthusiast why not do a bit of fieldwork from home for the people at Heritage Quest? They need volunteers to study their sophisticated maps for traces of human activity, such as medieval cart tracks and ancient burial mounds. There’s an English version and an English version for children may be ready by the time this Great Things is published. Website

One of the photos under investigation. Photo: via Facebook

Fill a chair
The Concertgebouw has free concerts from the famous venue every Wednesday in a series called, depressingly, Empty Chairs. The programme for May has not been made public yet but watch this space.

Watch this in English
STET English Theatre presents an online version of The Selfish Giant, a children’s story by Oscar Wilde about a self-isolating ogre. The performance can be accessed from the site for free or a small donation. It’s available until the first week of May. Website

Stand up comedy venue Boom Chicago is providing the necessary laughs by also streaming its shows via YouTube. Website

Hold On
The boys and girls of the Dutch national ballet, who have kept a lot trimmer than most of us, have made a video in which they are dancing to a choreography by dancer Milena Sidorova. Inspired by the lockdown it’s called Hold On and the dancers are – of course – performing at home. It’s nice to see them trying not to crash into the telly or the cooker. Website

Do a jigsaw
Not a Dutch initiative – the whole world can join in and does- but one that the Rijksmuseum, or the Stedelijk might pick up: an online jigsaw puzzle competition to see who can put together a painting together the quickest. Imagine Rembrandt’s Night Watch or Barnett Newman’s Who’s afraid of red, yellow and blue. It’s enough to give you a nervous breakdown. The Barnsley Museum thought of it first so that is the place to go for now. Website

Spot the wolf
Another great and worthwhile thing to do is to help the Hoge Veluwe nature reserve collect data about wildlife numbers and what the various inhabitants of the park are up to. You can do this by volunteering to study part of the piles and piles of digital photographs the park officials have made and which need to be analysed. The project is called Snapshot Hoge Veluwe. If you’re lucky you might spot a wolf, although the park is not pleased about its presence. Website

Do do this at home
The Nemo Science museum is keeping children and parents amused with a number of interesting experiments, none of which involve explosions. Children can make their own compass or calculate the shortest route from their home to the school they will be going back to soon. Website

Learn about Dutch hidden history 75 years on
The little known role of black soldiers in the liberation of the Netherlands is given prominence on the website Blackliberators.nl.  It’s a spinoff of the oral history project ‘African American Liberators in The Netherlands’ and documents the personal stories of a number of black soldiers, starting with Jefferson Wiggins who dug graves at the American cemetery at Margraten and who wrote down his memories of US army segregation in his book ‘From Alabama to Margraten – memories of grave digger Jefferson Wiggins.’

The Margraten cemetery Photo: S. Vonk

Take a peek at the pandas
Not long ago the Ouwehands Zoo announced that its resident panda pair might be expecting. It was not easy to persuade Xing Ya and Wu Wen (despite the zoo’s description of  Xing Ya as ‘a real macho’) to finally get a move on but a bit of panda porn and physical exercise finally did the trick. But is Wu Wen really pregnant? And if not why is she putting all that bamboo in her bedroom? You can watch the pandas go about their business on a special webcam. Website

In news just in: On May 2 Wu Wen and Xing Ya became the proud parents of a tiny giant panda!

Name that bird
If you don’t know your tit from your elbow now is the time to register for a Vogelbescherming twitcher course. Get your binoculars out and train them on the nearest tree (try to avoid the neighbours’ windows) and learn. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden you may see a blackbird ‘rolling’. The courses are in (simple) Dutch. Website

Catch a show
Museum curators who had just hammered in the last nail and hung the last painting when the coronavirus came and spoiled all the fun have not worked in vain. You can see the latest exhibitions on Museumtv and there are videos of 524 Dutch museums. Website

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