You Can Now Explore the National Parks With Google Cultural Institute

If you’re not able to embark on an exhaustive tour of U.S. landmarks, Google can help. The company has partnered with the Department of the Interior to build an online museum containing over 3800 pieces of artwork, historic artifacts, and records from more than 350 National Park Service sites, according to The Verge.

The collection is part of Google's Cultural Institute, and also includes 58 new 360-degree Street View experiences where you can explore parks and the interiors of museums, all from your home computer. (Never been to the Grand Canyon? There’s a webpage for that.)

In addition to getting immersed in a new place, you can check out objects like John Wilkes Booth’s deringer, Thomas Edison’s notes on the weather, dinosaur bones, or items used in the 1962 Alcatraz escape.

The launch is all part of the centennial celebration of the National Park Service, which, as the site says, “provides a window into the United States: past, present and future.”

“This marriage of technology and history means that anyone, anywhere can see artifacts and sites that provide a taste of the rich and diverse story of America,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a press release. “Our hope is that this partnership will not only illustrate and elevate our nation’s history and culture, but inspire more people to visit the wonderfully diverse places that the National Park Service protects and preserves for current and future generations.”

[h/t The Verge]

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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