Opinion: Commentary: Don’t GO (Yet), But Still “Visit”

Just as I reported to you about our nonprofits and local small businesses, our many historic, cultural and arts sites in the Mount Vernon District are currently closed to visitors. Our favorite sites are using their time to create virtual experiences to engage their visitors in new ways and leading fundraising efforts to offset lost revenue. Below is a sampling of the various South County Virtual Experiences that have been created in the past several weeks. I encourage you to “visit,” enjoy, learn and provide support if you are able. In addition, several of the sites have on-line gift shops, if you are looking for something special without leaving your home.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon's website www.mountvernon.org provides a wide range of digital experiences from virtual tours of the mansion to streaming events throughout the week from the estate. Also check out Mount Vernon’s YouTube channel to see a live stream of the estate’s newborn lambs and other informative lectures.

Workhouse Arts Center

The Workhouse has come up with amazing ways for you to engage with the Arts during this time. They've created virtual exhibitions for you to browse, a variety of videos showcasing everything from yoga to pottery, the NEW Lucy Burns Museum and artist studio talks showcasing their latest works. Online classes are also available. Find out more on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/WorkhouseArts/ and their YouTube Channel.

Gunston Hall

Sit back and take a virtual tour of George Mason's historic home. Or, have fun visiting Gunston Hall's Learning From Home hub where you'll find activities ranging from cooking and drinking to gardening and games. It's time to explore Gunston Hall. gunstonhall.org

Arcadia's At Home Educational Resources

Check out Arcadia's curated resource sheet with links to virtual field trips, mobile market pop-ups, math and STEM focused activities, and of course — ways to get your kids in nature. Introduce your kids to Arcadia's resources. Arcadia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system. http://arcadiafood.org/

Fairfax County Park Authority Virtual Exploration Center

The Fairfax County Park system is one of the best in the nation, and now they're bringing their resources to your home! They've curated a list of on-demand fitness activities, a virtual history tool, and many other activities related to science and nature, culture and history, and health and wellness. It's time to bring the parks to you. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/virtual-resource-center

Explore the beauty of NOVA Parks

The Northern Virginia Park Authority (NOVA Parks) www.novaparks.com invite you to watch their fun videos! They range from a new series of nature videos from Potomac Overlook, a guide to bluebells at Bull Run Park, history highlights at the parks, a fun look at history from Carlyle House and more! Visit NOVA Parks on YouTube.

Historic Woodlawn and Frank Lloyd-Wright’s Pope-Leighey House

Woodlawn has launched a hub – Makers and Creators: Cultivating Craft at Woodlawn – which allows you to connect with artists who specialize in a variety of mediums that are available for purchase. A great way to support independent artists while finding that special something for yourself or a loved one. www.woodlawnpopeleighey.org

National Museum of the United States Army

While the Museum’s June 4, 2020 public opening has been delayed, they have a way to give future visitors a glimpse of what’s in store. The featured exhibits section of their website allows you to see selected artifacts and the layout of the museum in an interactive way from the safety of home.

Other partner sites include: American Horticultural Society’s River Farm, National Park Authority, Gum Springs Historical Society and Museum, Fort Belvoir and Mason Neck State Park. Visit their websites for more information. armyhistory.org

For more things to virtually explore around Fairfax County – visit Fairfax at Home.

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