Local businesses using technology to gather virtually with community

Updated: March 20, 2020 06:54 PM

Local family entertainment spots like museums that are currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic are finding ways to keep families entertained with technology.


Many of the local museums are turning to video livestream so that families can continue to have fun while at home. It's also a way for them to stayed connected with the community.

"Our mission is to provide play opportunities for kids and we have been thinking about ways to do that while we're closed," said Cameron Kruger, the CEO and president for the Duluth Children's Museum.

The museum is bringing fun activities to kids staying home during the pandemic with their new initiative called 'Stay at Home Play at Home.'

"We're going to be producing a number of videos where our staff are doing the activities that we'd normally have here at the Duluth Children's Museum with programs like science experiments and book readings that have an activity attached to them," said Kruger.

Friday's activity involved a livestreamed kid-friendly yoga class.

"When I teach kids, my mission is not for them to be perfect yogi’s but instead help give some of the tools that come through yoga that help when life gets hard," said Melissa Kohne, the owner of Konjo, a kid's yoga company.

"It gives another opportunity for us to think about other things and provide some sense of normalcy. Playing and learning is so important to growth and development and that can't stop just because we're at home," said Kruger.

Kohne said yoga is a powerful tool to relax and is especially important to practice during the stressful times we are facing with COVID-19.

"Yoga is helpful because it’s a compassionate way to practice with other people, having play and fun, but it’s also a way to have a moment just with yourself," said Kohne.

With the Depot also having to shut its doors during this time they are finding unique ways to bring the museum to the public with behind the scene video tours that folks can watch from the comfort of their home.

"We’ve used social media platforms to bring the museum to everybody else. The beauty of that is we are taking people behind the scenes into artifacts, cars and engines, things that are normally closed to the public even when we’re open," said Ken Buehler, the executive director of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.

The video tours will also include artifacts from the collection of the St. Louis County Historical Society, local works of art from the Duluth Art Institute and tours of other artifacts at the Depot building. Viewers will also get to see restoration projects being done in the LSRM Shop.

Buehler said since they launched their first video they've had great reaction from people in the community and across the country.

"We've had thousands of views already just with the few we put up and it grows every single day," said Buehler. "With more and more people spending time indoors, they're obviously looking for something different, exciting and new and we are going to do that every single day."

Glensheen Mansion is also doing the same by providing virtual tours

Museum staff say they hope this helps families while they stay indoors and hope this brings the community closer together.

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