We’ve all watched with bated breath as our favourite museums and attractions have shut, re-opened and shut again during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, UNESCO estimates that 90% of museums globally have shut their doors. But even with hope on the horizon, these attractions still need our help. Here’s how you can help to support local tourism near you until the world goes back to normal.
Buy official museum merchandise online
The best way to support local museums is to shop online. From arty trinkets to must-have books, to cards, clothing and stationary, the most unique gifts come from museum stores. In New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has its own online store packed with cool stuff like a MET edition of Monopoly and imaginative book-ends and sculptures. Washington DC’s The Smithsonian even sells themed masks (always a useful gift!).
In London, Kew Gardens has some great gifts for gardeners, (think cutesy gardening gloves and spring growing kits) that might encourage a bit of fresh air during lockdown.
Take a virtual tour of a museum – and share with friends
The show must go on… or should that be online? There’s never been a better time to get cultural from the comfort of your own home. Take a virtual tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, get inspired by the Theatre-Museum Dalí, or snoop around the art with the curators at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. You can even see the Sistine Chapel with a 360° tour of the Vatican Museums.
If you find something you like, share it and don’t forget to tag the venue on social media to show you support local tourism and encourage others to do so, too.
Adopt an animal or plant at the zoo
One aquarium in Japan asked people to hop on a video call with its garden eels, fearing they were bored during the lockdown! There are ways to support your local zoo, too. Rotterdam Zoo is offering you the chance to adopt an animal or plant. Elsewhere other zoos are livestreaming animal activity to viewers, posting behind-the-scenes photographs and videos, and conducting virtual fundraising.
Look up your local zoo or aquarium on social media to see how they’re raising money, not just for their own animals, but beyond. The Aquarium of the Pacific for example is looking to wake us all up to the ocean’s plight. Donate now, and be like Cameron Diaz.
Don’t forget those zoos abroad, too. The Indonesian Zoo Association (PKBSI) reports that tens of thousands of zoo animals across Indonesia are at risk of food shortage due to a lack of revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. A little click around for the right causes can go a long way.
Subscribe to social media accounts and mailing lists for local tourism attractions
Following your favourite zoo, museum, aquarium or theme park on their social media channel, and liking or interacting with their posts, will help support local venues by keeping them relevant in search results. Signing up for newsletters and notifications also lets them know you’re thinking of them, and dying to hear when they’ll be open again!
If your fave spot has a YouTube channel, don’t forget to subscribe. Accounts need over 1000 followers before they can broadcast live and reach even more people.
Livestream local theatre performances
If theatre and musicals are your thing, companies like The National Theatre, Sadlers Wells, and BroadwayHD are offering streaming programmes with various payment options. To help assist musical theatre performers, stage managers and actors who are suffering with venues being closed, the UK’s Actors’ Benevolent Fund is open for you to make a donation during this COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been helping people for 135 years!
Help Musicians is another great charity offering advice and financial aid for musicians during these hard times.
Pre-order new albums and soundtracks
If you were planning to go to a show or a concert that’s been cancelled, think how disappointed you are and multiply it a million times for the people who were meant to be performing, or working behind the scenes! Buying the soundtrack for the show in question will support both the artists involved, and the industry too. Always check if pre-orders are available on the official website before buying elsewhere.
10 ways to support local businesses during COVID-19
It’s not just museums and attractions that are suffering during this pandemic. If you’re looking to do your bit to support your local community during the coronavirus pandemic, consider adopting some of these strategies.
- Order delivery from your favourite local restaurants
- Tip your delivery person generously every time, even if you don’t usually tip
- Buy gift cards from your favorite hotel, attraction or restaurant to use later
- Buy a membership at your favorite museum or gallery
- Postpone your fun plans instead of cancelling them altogether
- Purchase groceries from local farmer’s markets instead of supermarkets
- Buy season tickets from your favorite concert and sports venues
- Start shopping online for birthday and anniversary gifts from local retailers
- Order everyday items locally where possible instead of buying from Amazon
- Spread the word about local businesses on social media