Photo Credit: Franconia Sculpture Park offers printable sculpture puzzles and drawing pages.

Virtual Vacations on the Great River Road

Life is weird right now.  Social isolating, stocking up and staying home are the themes of the day.  We all want to be healthy, keep safe, and still manage to keep the boredom at bay.  We found some Virtual Vacations to scroll through and dream of road trips to come!


The Destroyer |Arthur Wesley Dow |c. 1911–13 |Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art  (Minneapolis, MN)

When you first reach this website, it is tough to know where to start.  But I think the friendly “Explore” tab is a worthy starting point. You’ll find over 600 mini-podcasts about works of art, or nearly 100 art stories about hidden gems in the museum.

Minnesota Historical Society 

This Historical Society has some go-to stops along the MN Great River Road; Fort Snelling, Mill City Museum, and the Oliver Kelley Farm.  But while you’re home, check out their “Collections Up Close”. Everything from an 1880’s snake handler to wind pants worn on an Arctic expedition.


Stonefield (Cassville, WI)

Stonefield is a state historical site that is home to a 1900 Farming Village, the State Agricultural Museum, and a Progressive Farmstead.  Click on Explore and choose what part of Stonefield you would like to learn more about. You might find yourself adding it as a stop on your next road trip.

Dahl Auto Museum (La Crosse, WI)

Lovingly restored antique automobiles can be found at this river town museum.  The oldest car is a 1911 Ford Model T Roadster whose base price back in the day was $600.  The newest? A 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition with a top speed of 205MPH.


The Driftless Area Education & Visitors Center

(Lansing, IA)

The group has a Mississippi River webcam!  You might see some eagles if you’re lucky. It can be calming to watch a real time view of the mighty Mississippi (and the Lansing bridge traffic).

National Mississippi Museum & Aquarium

(Dubuque, IA)

Get to know the animals that call the museum and aquarium home, before you ever go visit.  Their habitat, their diet, how to better identify them, and more. Plus, the river otters have their own Flickr page that is completely overflowing with cuteness.


Chicago Athenaeum Museum

of Architecture and Design (Galena, IL)

Take a look at the American Architecture Awards 2014-2019.  See images of the winning designs, and learn about the projects.  There are some truly beautiful and innovative homes, businesses, and designs.

University Museum (Carbondale, IL)

The University Museum of Southern Illinois University has an online collection.  You can search by theme, ‘American Domestic Life’ anyone? And you can search by geographic region too.  You’ll find photos, descriptions of items, and even a little bit about how they got there.


City Museum (St. Louis, MO)

​​I think I’ve watched the drone footage as it zips through the City Museum at least six times.  And it’s only scratching the surface of what the museum has to offer. The kids are going to want to click around the site to see all the slides, rides and installations available on the 5 floors of this museum.

Crisp Museum (Cape Girardeau, MO)

They have an exhibition archive going back to 2008.  Over ten years of artists and exhibits. Take your pick and see a sample of their work while learning more about them.


River Discovery Center (Paducah, KY)

Got curious kids?  I’m guessing that’s a YEP!  They can click on exhibits and learn more about rivers and boating on this museum’s website.

The National Quilt Museum (Paducah, KY)

Scroll through their collection and current exhibits.  It’s surprising what stories can be told with fabric and thread.  And although I’m sure they’re more impressive in person, giving yourself a self-guided virtual tour is pretty cool too.


Discovery Park of America (Union City, TN)

This museum has a podcast about living in West Tennessee.  Astronauts, agriculture, history and art. Over 40 podcasts with diverse topics and real people sharing their life’s story.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music (Memphis, TN)

This might be just what you’re looking for to while away a little time.  You can listen to soul music tracks starting in the early 60’s through the mid-70’s.  With an option to buy them if you find your groove.


Hampson Archeological Museum  

State Park (Wilson, AR)

440 objects in their digital collection.  The museum houses Native American objects from 350 to 600 years ago.  VERY COOL 3D imaging. So pick a piece of pottery and spend some time spinning it around and seeing every angle.


B.B. King Museum (Indianola, MS)

Get a taste of the B.B. King Museum through these series of videos.  More than the story of a blues artist, but about the impoverished, racially divided region of the Mississippi Delta he grew up in.

Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale, MS)

Blues, Gospel, and R&B.  Over the years the museum has been donated many 78’s and have been working to preserve them.  You can listen to their collection. I started with some Louis Armstrong. Perfect.


National WWII Museum (New Orleans, LA)

World War II buff?  There are a lot of great articles and images to go with them on this website.  Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the war to end all wars by giving yourself a better understanding of the people and actions that shaped history.

USS KIDD Veterans Museum (Baton Rouge, LA)

Take a virtual tour of the ship!  Hover over a map of the four levels of the battleship.  Pick a compartment and see images and learn about how the space was used.  Torpedo tubes, the chart room, the galley, and so much more.