Virtual support through isolation

By Tamara Clark

Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, Melbourne’s culture continues to flourish. The streets are empty but Melbournians are still learning, creating and recreating from the comfort of their own homes.

What better time to tour a gallery than when it is entirely empty? All National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV’s) exhibitions have been translated into virtual experiences with free and self-guided tours awaiting online. 

The Australian National Portrait Gallery has followed suit and moved all displays online featuring a wide variety of exhibitions. Or, if history is more your thing, take a virtual tour of the history display at Melbourne Exhibition Centre or the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria’s online museum. 

Maybe it is time to experiment with a new kind of freedom; one found in the world of gaming. Little Lonsdale Street’s Games Laboratory is continuing to unite gamers, but in a different way. Instead of the traditional and in-person competitions, the centre is now hosting online gaming events. No matter what you play, or if you have never played before, the Lab is a place for everyone, from Dungeons and Dragons fanatics to classical board games buffs. 

For those going a little stir crazy, Move Yoga (Melbourne) is hosting online classes so individuals can mediate their way through isolation. Move is streaming 30 live classes each week. Or, if music helps you relax, The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is performing free, virtual concerts through its website. 

The Royal Botanic Gardens is posting wellbeing activities, exercises for children, gardening advice, flora updates and work at the gardens via its Facebook page, while the Melbourne Zoo is streaming live videos of snow leopard cubs online. However, the outdoor leopard camera is not working and the zoo apologised for leaving big cats in charge of a small camera!

Tickets to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival have been refunded and The Comedy Care Package is now being streamed for free through ABC iView. The two-hour special is a compilation of Melbourne’s best past stand-up performances.

Over 19,000 books are available through the State Library’s free eBook collection. Membership is required to access the collection but the good news is, it’s free. Becoming a library member comes with other perks including a monthly newsletter, being the first to know about library events, news and exclusive offers, access to over five million collection items, free access to thousands of online databases and e-resources, access to meeting rooms and creative technology studios, personalised options when you use the catalogue and the ability to order digital copies and extracts of Library collection items. 

Why not create the ultimate self-isolation date with ACMI’s Virtual Cinémathèque every Tuesday? The films were chosen by the Melbourne Cinémathèque Committee and ACMI’s film department and annotations will be available to complement screenings so, get the corn popping! 

Or, you could try your hand in the kitchen. Vue de Monde is streaming online master classes with executive chef Hugh Allen. To cook along at home, Vue to You offers delivery of baking kits up to 10 kilometres from the CBD restaurant •

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