Digital Archives Give You Free Access to Thousands of Historical Children’s Books

It is no arbi­trary coin­ci­dence that Margery Williams’ clas­sic The Vel­veteen Rab­bit involves a ter­ri­fy­ing brush with scar­let fever. Pub­lished in 1922, the book was based on her own chil­dren. But all of its first read­ers would have shud­dered at the men­tion, giv­en very recent mem­o­ries of the glob­al dev­as­ta­tion wrought by “Span­ish” flu. The sto­ry earns its fairy-tale end­ing by invok­ing cat­a­stro­phe, with images of the poor rab­bit near­ly thrown into the fire and then tossed out with the trash.

The Vel­veteen Rab­bit recalls Oscar Wilde’s 19th cen­tu­ry children’s sto­ries, in which “loss is not a pose; it is real,” writes Jeanette Win­ter­son. All may even­tu­al­ly be restored, “there is usu­al­ly a hap­py end­ing,” but “Wilde’s fairy­tale trans­for­ma­tions turn on loss.” The author of The Vel­veteen Rab­bit did not share Wilde’s con­trar­i­an streak, nor indulge the same sen­ti­men­tal fits of piety, but Williams’ intent was no less pro­found and seri­ous. The specter of fever still haunts the book’s Arca­di­an end­ing.

Williams’ major influ­ence was Wal­ter de la Mare, whom the Poet­ry Foun­da­tion describes as a writer of “dreams, death, rare states of mind and emo­tion, fan­ta­sy worlds of child­hood, and the pur­suit of the transcendent”—all themes The Vel­veteen Rab­bit engages in the nar­ra­tive lan­guage of kids. Do chil­dren’s books still rec­og­nize ear­ly child­hood as unique­ly for­ma­tive, while also regard­ing chil­dren as sophis­ti­cat­ed read­ers who can appre­ci­ate emo­tion­al depth and psy­cho­log­i­cal com­plex­i­ty?

Do Disney’s mod­ern fran­chis­es take loss as seri­ous­ly? What about Paw Patrol? Were Wilde and Williams’ sto­ries unusu­al for their time or did they mark a trend? How do children’s books serve as codes of con­duct, and what do they tell us about how we fil­ter life’s calami­ties in digestible nar­ra­tives for our kids? How can we use such sto­ries to edu­cate in the midst of over­whelm­ing events?

For those who find these ques­tions intrigu­ing for pure­ly aca­d­e­m­ic rea­sons, or who strug­gle with them as both par­ents and new­ly mint­ed home­school teach­ers, we offer, below, sev­er­al online libraries with thou­sands of scanned his­tor­i­cal children’s books, from very ear­ly print­ed exam­ples in the 18th cen­tu­ry to exam­ples of a much more recent vin­tage.

These come from pub­lish­ers in Eng­land, the U.S., and the Sovi­et Union, and from names like Christi­na Roset­ti, Jules Verne, Wiz­ard of Oz author Frank L. Baum, and Eng­lish artist Ran­dolph Calde­cott, whose sur­name has dis­tin­guished the best Amer­i­can pic­ture books for 70 years. For every star of children’s writ­ing and illus­tra­tion, there are hun­dreds of writ­ers and artists hard­ly any­one remem­bers, but whose work can be as play­ful, mov­ing, and hon­est as the famous clas­sic children’s sto­ries we pass on to our kids.

Dis­cov­er 6,000 new-old clas­sics, and plen­ty of didac­tic man­u­als, alpha­bet books, and children’s devo­tion­al books, at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Florida’s Bald­win Library of His­tor­i­cal Children’s Lit­er­a­ture

Enter a dig­i­tal archive of over 1,800 clas­sic children’s books at the UCLA Children’s Book Col­lec­tion, with books dat­ing from 1728 to 1999

Mar­vel at the Library of Congress’s small but sig­nif­i­cant online col­lec­tion of books from the 19th and 20th cen­turies

And, final­ly, at Prince­ton’s online col­lec­tions, browse Sovi­et children’s books pub­lished between 1917 and 1953, for a very dif­fer­ent view of ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­tion.

Whether we’re par­ents, schol­ars, teach­ers, curi­ous read­ers, or all of the above, we find that the best children’s books show us “why we need fairy tales,” as Win­ter­son writes, at every age. “Rea­son and log­ic are tools for under­stand­ing the world. We need a means of under­stand­ing our­selves, too. That is what imag­i­na­tion allows.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hayao Miyaza­ki Picks His 50 Favorite Children’s Books

200 Free Kids Edu­ca­tion­al Resources: Video Lessons, Apps, Books, Web­sites & More 

Watch Stars Read Clas­sic Children’s Books: Bet­ty White, James Earl Jones, Rita Moreno & Many More

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Free Online Drawing Lessons for Kids, Led by Favorite Artists & Illustrators

When I became the Kennedy Cen­ter Edu­ca­tion Artist-in-Res­i­dence, I didn’t real­ize the most impact­ful word in that title would be “Res­i­dence.” —illus­tra­tor Mo Willems

Even as schools regroup and online instruc­tion gath­ers steam, the scram­ble con­tin­ues to keep cooped-up kids engaged and hap­py.

These COVID-19-prompt­ed online draw­ing lessons and activ­i­ties might not hold much appeal for the sin­gle-mind­ed sports nut or the junior Feyn­man who scoffs at the trans­for­ma­tive prop­er­ties of art, but for the art‑y kid, or fans of cer­tain children’s illus­tra­tors, these are an excel­lent diver­sion.

Mo Willems, author of Knuf­fle Bun­ny and the Kennedy Center’s first Edu­ca­tion Artist-in-Res­i­dence, is open­ing his home stu­dio every week­day at 1pm EST for approx­i­mate­ly twen­ty min­utes worth of LUNCHDOODLES. Episode 5, finds him using a fat mark­er to doo­dle a Can­dy­land-ish game board (sans trea­cle).

Once the design is com­plete, he rolls the dice to advance both his piece and that of his home view­er. A 5 lands him on the crowd-pleas­ing direc­tive “fart.” Clear­ly the online instruc­tor enjoys cer­tain lib­er­ties the class­room teacher would be ill-advised to attempt.

Check out the full playlist on the Kennedy Center’s YouTube chan­nel and down­load activ­i­ty pages for each episode here.


If the dai­ly LUNCHDOODLES leaves ‘em want­i­ng more, there’s just enough time for a quick pee and snack break before Lunch Lady’s Jar­rett J. Krosocz­ka takes over with Draw Every­day with JJK, a basic illus­tra­tion les­son every week­day at 2pm EST. These are a bit more nit­ty grit­ty, as JJK, the kid who loved to draw and grew up to be an artist, shares prac­ti­cal tips on pen­cil­ing, ink­ing, and draw­ing faces. Pro tip: resis­tant Star Wars fans will like­ly be hooked by the first episode’s Yoda, a char­ac­ter Krosocz­ka is well versed in as the author and illus­tra­tor of the Star Wars Jedi Acad­e­my series.

Find the com­plete playlist here.

Illus­tra­tor Car­son Ellis eschews video lessons to host a Quar­an­tine Art Club on her Insta­gram page. Her most recent assign­ment is car­tog­ra­phy based chal­lenge, with help­ful tips for cre­at­ing an “impact­ful page turn” for those who wish to share their cre­ations on Insta­gram:

DRAW A MAP: When we think of trea­sure maps, we think of sea mon­sters, islands with palm trees, pirate ships, anthro­po­mor­phic clouds blow­ing gales upon white-capped seas. YOUR map can be of any­where: an enchant­ed wood, a dystopi­an sub­urb, your back­yard, your apart­ment that has nev­er felt so small, all of the above, none of the above. Or your map can be a tra­di­tion­al trea­sure map lead­ing to a pirate’s hoard. It’s total­ly up to you. Three things that you MUST include are: a com­pass rose (very important—look this up if you don’t know what it is), the name of the place you are map­ping, and a red X.

DRAW THE TREASURE: The first part of this assign­ment is to draw a map with a red X to mark the loca­tion of hid­den trea­sure. The sec­ond part of this assign­ment is to draw the trea­sure. I don’t know what the trea­sure is. Only you know what the trea­sure is. Draw it on a sep­a­rate piece of paper from the map.

BONUS POINTS: If you’re going to post this on insta­gram, I rec­om­mend for­mat­ting it with two images. Post the map first, then the trea­sure which the view­er will swipe to see. This will cre­ate what we in the kids book world call AN IMPACTFUL PAGE TURN. That’s the thing that hap­pens when you’re read­ing a pic­ture book and you turn the page to dis­cov­er some­thing fun­ny or sur­pris­ing. It’s kind of hard to explain, but you know a good page turn when you’ve expe­ri­enced one.


Wendy McNaughton, who spe­cial­izes in drawn jour­nal­ism, also likes the Insta­gram plat­form, host­ing a live Draw Togeth­er ses­sion every school day, from 10–10.30 am PST. Her approach is a bit more freeform, with impromp­tu dance par­ties, spe­cial guests, and field trips to the back­yard.

Her How to Watch Draw Togeth­er high­light is a hilar­i­ous crash course in Insta­gram Live, scrawled in mag­ic mark­er by some­one who’s pos­si­bly only now just get­ting a grip on the plat­form. Don’t see it? Maybe it’s the week­end, or “maybe ask a mil­len­ni­al for help?”


And bless E.B. Goodale, an illus­tra­tor, first time author and moth­er of a young son, who hav­ing coun­ter­act­ed the heart­break of a can­celled book tour with a hasti­ly launched week of dai­ly Insta­gram Live Tod­dler Draw­ing Club meet­ings, made the deci­sion to scale back to just Tues­days and Thurs­days:

It was fun doing it every­day but turned out to be a bit too much to han­dle giv­en our family’s new sched­ule. We’re all fig­ur­ing it out, right? I hope you will con­tin­ue to join me in our unchar­tered ter­ri­to­ry next week as we draw to stay sane. Tune in live to make requests or watch it lat­er and fol­low along at home.

(Her How to Draw a Cat tuto­r­i­al, above, was like­ly intend­ed for in-per­son book­store events relat­ing to her just pub­lished Under the Lilacs…)


Our per­son­al favorite is Stick­ies Art School, whose online children’s class­es are led not by mul­ti-dis­ci­pli­nary artist Nina Katchadouri­an, whose Face­book page serves as the online insti­tu­tion’s home, but rather her senior tuxe­do cat, Stick­ies.

Stick­ies, who comes to the gig with an impres­sive com­mand of Eng­lish, honed no doubt by fre­quent appear­ances on Katchadourian’s Insta­gram page, affects a dif­fi­dent air to dole out assign­ments, the lat­est of which is above.

He allows his stu­dents ample time to com­plete their tasksthus far all por­traits of him­self. The next one, to ren­der Stick­ies in a cos­tume of the artist’s choice, is due Wednes­day by 9am, Berlin time.

Stick­ies also offers pos­i­tive feed­back on sub­mit­ted work in delight­ful fol­low up videos, a respon­si­bil­i­ty that Katchadouri­an takes seri­ous­ly:

There have been so many con­ver­sa­tions at NYU Gal­latin where I’m on the fac­ul­ty about online teach­ing, how to do it, how to think of a stu­dio course in this new form, etc, and I think per­haps that crossed over with the desire to cheer up some peo­ple with kids, many of whom are already Stick­ies fans, or so I have been told. 

His child pro­teges are no doubt unaware that Stick­ies looked ready to leave the plan­et sev­er­al weeks ago, a fact whose import will res­onate with many pet own­ers in these dark days:

Maybe a third ele­ment was just being so glad he is still around, that hav­ing him active­ly “out there” feels good and life-affirm­ing at the moment.

Stick­ies Art School is mar­velous fun for adults to audit from afar, via Katchadourian’s pub­lic Face­book posts. If you are a par­ent whose child would like to par­tic­i­pate, send her a friend request and men­tion that you’re doing so on behalf of your child artist.

Search­ing on the hash­tag #art­teach­er­sofin­sta­gram will yield many more resources.

Art of Edu­ca­tion Uni­ver­si­ty has sin­gled out 12 accounts to get you start­ed, as well as lots of help­ful infor­ma­tion for class­room art teach­ers who are fig­ur­ing out how to teach effec­tive­ly online.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Learn to Draw Butts with Just Five Sim­ple Lines

Car­toon­ist Lyn­da Bar­ry Teach­es You How to Draw

How to Draw the Human Face & Head: A Free 3‑Hour Tuto­r­i­al

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Giv­en the can­cel­la­tion of every­thing, she’s tak­en to Insta­gram to doc­u­ment her social dis­tance strolls through New York City’s Cen­tral Park, using the hash­tag #queenoftheapeswalk  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

When Orson Welles Crossed Paths With Hitler (and Churchill): “He Had No Personality.… I Think There Was Nothing There.”

Dick Cavett excelled at turn­ing the late-night talk show for­mat into a show­case for gen­uine­ly reveal­ing con­ver­sa­tions (and the occa­sion­al wrestling match). Of the many riv­et­ing guests he had on through­out the 60s and 70s, some appear­ing mul­ti­ple times, few could match Orson Welles for sheer sto­ry­telling prowess. As if in a con­test to out­do him­self, Welles appeared on Cavett’s show three times in 1970, and once more in 1973, as an ami­able, gruff racon­teur who lived a life almost impos­si­ble to believe actu­al­ly hap­pened.

Welles met every­one. He even met Hitler, he says in the clip above from a July 1970 appear­ance on the show, his sec­ond that year. In those ear­ly days, he says, “the Nazis were just a very com­i­cal kind of minor­i­ty par­ty of nuts that nobody took seri­ous­ly at all” except Welles’ Aus­tri­an hik­ing instruc­tor, who brought the leg­endary actor and direc­tor to a Nazi din­ner with the future mass-mur­der­ing dic­ta­tor. Welles was seat­ed next to Hitler, who “made so lit­tle an impres­sion on me that I can’t remem­ber a sec­ond of it. He had no per­son­al­i­ty. He was invis­i­ble…. I think there was noth­ing there.”

By 1938, every­one knew who he was: Hitler was named “man of the year” by Time mag­a­zine, who wrote, “less­er men of the year seemed small indeed beside the Führer”—and Welles was named “Radio’s Man of the Year.” His “famous The War of the Worlds broad­cast, scared few­er peo­ple than Hitler,” the edi­tors wrote, “but more than had ever been fright­ened by radio before, demon­strat­ing that radio can be a tremen­dous force in whip­ping up mass emo­tion.” Welles’ nev­er met Stal­in, he tells Cavett, unprompt­ed, but knew Roo­sevelt “very well.”

In a lat­er appear­ance on the show, in Sep­tem­ber 1970, Welles claimed Roo­sevelt told him no one believed the Pearl Har­bor announce­ment because of the War of the Worlds hoax. Here, in this twelve-minute clip from July, he has many more sto­ries to tell and excel­lent ques­tions from Cavett to answer (if he went back to school, he says, and “real­ly want­ed to get good at a sub­ject,” he would study anthro­pol­o­gy). Towards the end, at 9:00, he talks about anoth­er world leader who did make a dis­tinct impres­sion on him: Win­ston Churchill. “He was quite anoth­er thing,” says Welles. “He had great humor and great irony.”

Welles tells a sto­ry of Churchill com­ing to see him play Oth­el­lo in Lon­don. “I heard a mur­mur­ing in the front row. I thought he was talk­ing to him­self.” Churchill lat­er came to vis­it Welles in his dress­ing room and began to recite all of Othello’s lines from mem­o­ry, “includ­ing the cuts which I had made.” Years lat­er, after the war, when Churchill was out of office, Welles ran into him once more in Venice, and their pri­or asso­ci­a­tion came very much in handy in the financ­ing of his next pic­ture. (He doesn’t name the film, but it might have been The Stranger.)

No one expe­ri­enced the 20th cen­tu­ry quite like Orson Welles, and no one left such a cre­ative lega­cy. Always enter­tain­ing, his Cavett appear­ances are more than oppor­tu­ni­ties for name dropping—they’re tele­vised mem­oirs, in extem­po­ra­ne­ous vignettes, from one of history’s most engag­ing sto­ry­tellers.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Sal­vador Dalí Strolls onto The Dick Cavett Show with an Anteater, Then Talks About Dreams & Sur­re­al­ism, the Gold­en Ratio & More (1970)

Orson Welles Trash­es Famous Direc­tors: Alfred Hitch­cock (“Ego­tism and Lazi­ness”), Woody Allen (“His Arro­gance Is Unlim­it­ed”) & More

Alfred Hitch­cock Talks with Dick Cavett About Sab­o­tage, For­eign Cor­re­spon­dent & Lax­a­tives (1972)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Take a Virtual Tour of 30 World-Class Museums & Safely Visit 2 Million Works of Fine Art

Rosetta Stone

Since the first stir­rings of the inter­net, artists and cura­tors have puz­zled over what the flu­id­i­ty of online space would do to the expe­ri­ence of view­ing works of art. At a con­fer­ence on the sub­ject in 2001, Susan Haz­an of the Israel Muse­um won­dered whether there is “space for enchant­ment in a tech­no­log­i­cal world?” She referred to Wal­ter Benjamin’s rumi­na­tions on the “poten­tial­ly lib­er­at­ing phe­nom­e­non” of tech­no­log­i­cal­ly repro­duced art, yet also not­ed that “what was for­feit­ed in this process were the ‘aura’ and the author­i­ty of the object con­tain­ing with­in it the val­ues of cul­tur­al her­itage and tra­di­tion.” Eval­u­at­ing a num­ber of online gal­leries of the time, Haz­an found that “the speed with which we are able to access remote muse­ums and pull them up side by side on the screen is alarm­ing­ly imme­di­ate.” Per­haps the “accel­er­at­ed mobil­i­ty” of the inter­net, she wor­ried, “caus­es objects to become dis­pos­able and to decline in sig­nif­i­cance.”


Fif­teen years after her essay, the num­ber of muse­ums that have made their col­lec­tions avail­able online whole, or in part, has grown expo­nen­tial­ly and shows no signs of slow­ing. We may not need to fear los­ing muse­ums and libraries—important spaces that Michel Fou­cault called “het­ero­topias,” where lin­ear, mun­dane time is inter­rupt­ed. These spaces will like­ly always exist.

Yet increas­ing­ly we need nev­er vis­it them in per­son to view most of their con­tents. Stu­dents and aca­d­e­mics can con­duct near­ly all of their research through the inter­net, nev­er hav­ing to trav­el to the Bodleian, the Bei­necke, or the British Library. And lovers of art must no longer shell out for plane tick­ets and hotels to see the pre­cious con­tents of the Get­ty, the Guggen­heim, or the Rijksmu­se­um. And who would dare do that dur­ing our cur­rent pan­dem­ic?

For all that may be lost, online gal­leries have long been “mak­ing works of art wide­ly avail­able, intro­duc­ing new forms of per­cep­tion in film and pho­tog­ra­phy and allow­ing art to move from pri­vate to pub­lic, from the elite to the mass­es.”


Even more so than when Haz­an wrote those words, the online world offers pos­si­bil­i­ties for “the emer­gence of new cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­na, the vir­tu­al aura.” Over the years we have fea­tured dozens of data­bas­es, archives, and online gal­leries through which you might vir­tu­al­ly expe­ri­ence art the world over, an expe­ri­ence once sole­ly reserved for only the very wealthy. And as artists and cura­tors adapt to a dig­i­tal envi­ron­ment, they find new ways to make vir­tu­al gal­leries enchant­i­ng. The vast col­lec­tions in the vir­tu­al gal­leries list­ed below await your vis­it, with 2,000,000+ paint­ings, sculp­tures, pho­tographs, books, and more. See the Roset­ta Stone at the British Muse­um (top), cour­tesy of the Google Cul­tur­al Insti­tute. See Van Gogh’s many self-por­traits and vivid, swirling land­scapes at The Van Gogh Muse­um. Vis­it the Asian art col­lec­tion at the Smith­so­ni­an’s Freer and Sack­ler Gal­leries. Or see Vass­i­ly Kandin­sky’s daz­zling abstract com­po­si­tions at the Guggen­heim.

And below the list of gal­leries, find links to online col­lec­tions of sev­er­al hun­dred art books to read online or down­load. Con­tin­ue to watch this space: We’ll add to both of these lists as more and more col­lec­tions come online.

Art Images from Muse­ums & Libraries

Art Books

Note: This post orig­i­nal­ly appeared on our site in May 2016. It has since been updat­ed to include more art from dif­fer­ent muse­ums.

Relat­ed Con­tents:

Down­load 448 Free Art Books from The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art Puts 400,000 High-Res Images Online & Makes Them Free to Use

Free: The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art and the Guggen­heim Offer 474 Free Art Books Online

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 2 ) |

Dead & Company Announces Couch Tour, Letting You Stream Free Concerts at Home

More free music/entertainment to car­ry you through these bleak, strange times. Dead & Com­pa­ny (the sur­viv­ing mem­bers of the Grate­ful Dead plus John May­er and Oteil Bur­bridge) are mak­ing con­certs free to stream at home. And the first one gets under­way tonight.

They announced on Twit­ter:

Stay at home this week­end and tune in to “One More Sat­ur­day Night”, a new #Couch­Tour series fea­tur­ing your favorite Dead & Com­pa­ny shows, for FREE.   We’re kick­ing things off with the 12/2/17 Austin show this Sat­ur­day at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT on and on Face­book!

Click the links above to watch the show. Until then, you can watch a set above, record­ed live in Atlanta’s Lake­wood Amphithe­atre, back in June 2017.

Also find a trove of 11,000+ record­ed Grate­ful Dead shows in the Relat­eds below.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Live Per­form­ers Now Stream­ing Shows, from their Homes to Yours: Neil Young, Cold­play, Broad­way Stars, Met­ro­pol­i­tan Operas & More

11,215 Free Grate­ful Dead Con­cert Record­ings in the Inter­net Archive

The Grate­ful Dead Play at the Egypt­ian Pyra­mids, in the Shad­ow of the Sphinx (1978)

The Longest of the Grate­ful Dead’s Epic Long Jams: “Dark Star” (1972), “The Oth­er One” (1972) and “Play­ing in The Band” (1974)

Bruce Spring­steen Releas­es Live Con­cert Film Online: Watch “Lon­don Call­ing: Live In Hyde Park” and Prac­tice Self Dis­tanc­ing

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

Soothing, Uplifting Resources for Parents & Caregivers Stressed by the COVID-19 Crisis

When COVID-19 closed schools and shut­tered the­aters and con­cert venues, response was swift.

Stars rang­ing from the Cincin­nati zoo’s hip­po Fiona to Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miran­da leapt to share free con­tent with sud­den­ly home­bound view­ers.

Coldplay’s front­man, Chris Mar­tin, sep­a­rat­ed from his band­mates by inter­na­tion­al bor­ders, played a mini gig at home, as did coun­try star Kei­th Urban, with his wife, Nicole Kid­man, lurk­ing in the back­ground.

Chore­o­g­ra­ph­er Deb­bie Allen got peo­ple off the couch with free dance class­es on Insta­gram.

Audi­ble pledged to pro­vide free audio­books for lit­tle kids and teens for the dura­tion.

An embar­rass­ment of rich­es for those whose expe­ri­ence of COVID-19 is some­where between extend­ed snow day and stay­ca­tion…

But what about care­givers who sud­den­ly find them­selves pro­vid­ing 24–7 care for elders with demen­tia, or neu­ro-atyp­i­cal adult chil­dren whose upend­ed rou­tine is wreak­ing hav­oc on their emo­tions?

“I know peo­ple are hap­py that the schools have closed but I just lost crit­i­cal work­day hours and if/when day hab clos­es I will have to take low-paid med­ical leave AND we will not have any breaks from care­giv­ing some­one with 24–7 needs and aggres­sive, loud behav­iors. I feel com­plete­ly defeat­ed,” one friend writes.

24 hours lat­er:

We just lost day hab, effec­tive tomor­row. My mes­sages for in-home ser­vices haven’t been returned yet. Full on pan­ic mode.

What can we do to help light­en those loads when we’re barred from phys­i­cal inter­ac­tion, or enter­ing each other’s homes?

We combed through our archive, with an eye toward the most sooth­ing, uplift­ing con­tent, appro­pri­ate for all ages, start­ing with pianist Paul Bar­ton’s clas­si­cal con­certs for ele­phants in Kan­chanaburi, Thai­land, above.

Calm­ing videos:

Hours of sooth­ing  nature footage from the BBC.

Com­muters in New­castle’s Hay­mar­ket Bus Sta­tion Play­ing Beethoven 

Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour’s Musi­cal Take on Shakespeare’s Son­net 18

Guid­ed Imagery Med­i­ta­tion from Johns Hop­kins All Children’s Hos­pi­tal

Four clas­sic per­for­mances from the “Father of Bossa Nova” João Gilber­to

The Insects’ Christ­mas, a 1913: Stop Motion  Ani­ma­tion

Mul­ti­ple sea­sons of Bob Ross!

60+ Free Char­lie Chap­lin Films Online

Home­made Amer­i­can Music, a 1980 doc­u­men­tary on rur­al south­east­ern tra­di­tion­al music and musi­cians

Win­sor McKay’s Ger­tie the Dinosaur

Calm­ing Music and Audio:

Metal­li­ca, REM, Led Zep­pelin & Queen Sung in the Style of Gre­go­ri­an Chant

18 Hours of Free Guid­ed Med­i­ta­tions

Weight­less, the most relax­ing song ever made

Calm­ing Piano, Jazz & Harp Cov­ers of Music from Hayao Miyaza­ki Films

240 Hours of Relax­ing, Sleep-Induc­ing Sounds from Sci-Fi Video Games: From Blade Run­ner to Star Wars

Simon & Gar­funkel Sing “The Sound of Silence” 45 Years After Its Release

We’ve also got a trove of free col­or­ing books and pages, though care­givers should vet the con­tent before shar­ing it with some­one who’s like­ly to be dis­turbed by med­ical illus­tra­tion and images of medieval demons…

Read­ers, if you know a resource that might buy care­givers and their agi­tat­ed, house­bound charges a bit of peace, please add it in the com­ments below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Ther­a­peu­tic Ben­e­fits of Ambi­ent Music: Sci­ence Shows How It Eas­es Chron­ic Anx­i­ety, Phys­i­cal Pain, and ICU-Relat­ed Trau­ma

Free Guid­ed Imagery Record­ings Help Kids Cope with Pain, Stress & Anx­i­ety

Chill Out to 70 Hours of Ocean­scape Nature Videos Filmed by BBC Earth

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

A Short, Animated Film Shows How a Scientific Article Gets Published: “Excitement, Baby Steps and Reams of Rejections”

When peo­ple say things like “the sci­ence is set­tled” or “the sci­ence has changed,” researchers tend to grind their teeth. Sci­ence can come to a broad con­sen­sus, as in the case of the coro­n­avirus or cli­mate change, but it isn’t ever per­fect­ly set­tled as a bloc on any ques­tion. We pro­ceed in sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge not by attain­ing per­fect knowl­edge but, as Isaac Asi­mov once wrote, by being less wrong than those who came before.

And sci­en­tists advance in sci­en­tif­ic pub­lish­ing, as Aeon writes, not with cer­tain­ty, but with “excite­ment, baby steps and reams of rejec­tions.” As we see in the short film above, The Researcher’s Arti­cle, by French film­mak­er Char­lotte Arene, get­ting one’s research pub­lished can be “a patience-test­ing exer­cise in rejec­tion, rewrit­ing and wait­ing,” demon­strat­ed here by the tra­vails of physi­cists Frédéric Restag­no and Julien Bobroff of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Paris-Saclay.

Even before sub­mit­ting their find­ings, the sci­en­tists must care­ful­ly fit their work into the tra­di­tion­al form known as the “let­ter,” a doc­u­ment of four pages or few­er that con­dens­es years of research into strict­ly suc­cinct para­graphs, graphs, and ref­er­ences. The “let­ter” is “one of the most pop­u­lar for­mats of arti­cles in physics,” say the physi­cists, not­ing the major Nobel prize-win­ning dis­cov­er­ies to appear as let­ters in recent years, includ­ing the Hig­gs’ Boson pub­li­ca­tion that won in 2013, com­ing in at only two pages long.

Sum­ming up “a mas­sive amount of data,” short sci­en­tif­ic arti­cles then go on to prove them­selves to their respec­tive fields through a ref­er­ee­ing process in which three anony­mous sci­en­tists read the work and rec­om­mend pub­li­ca­tion, revi­sion, or rejec­tion. This process can go sev­er­al rounds and take sev­er­al months. One must be per­sis­tent: Restag­no and Bobroff were reject­ed from sev­er­al jour­nals before final­ly get­ting an accep­tance.

After this sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment of time and effort, the authors may have a read­er­ship of maybe twen­ty peo­ple. But crowd size is not the point, they say, “because research is made up of all these small dis­cov­er­ies,” con­tribut­ing to a larg­er pic­ture, inform­ing and cor­rect­ing each oth­er, and going about the hum­ble, painstak­ing busi­ness of try­ing to be less wrong than their pre­de­ces­sors, while still build­ing on the best insights of hun­dreds of years of sci­en­tif­ic pub­lish­ing.

via Aeon

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Read the Short­est Aca­d­e­m­ic Arti­cle Ever Writ­ten: “The Unsuc­cess­ful Self-Treat­ment of a Case of ‘Writer’s Block’”

The Short­est-Known Paper Pub­lished in a Seri­ous Math Jour­nal: Two Suc­cinct Sen­tences

The Emper­or of Japan, Aki­hi­to, Is Still Pub­lish­ing Sci­en­tif­ic Papers in His 80s

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

How a Virus Spreads, and How to Avoid It: A Former NASA Engineer Demonstrates with a Blacklight in a Classroom

The past few weeks have remind­ed us just why virus­es have been such a for­mi­da­ble ene­my of human­i­ty for so long. Though very few of the count­less virus­es in exis­tence affect us in any way, let alone a lethal one, we can’t see them with­out micro­scopes. And so when a dead­ly virus breaks out, we live our dai­ly lives with an invis­i­ble killer in our midst. Aggres­sive test­ing, as sev­er­al coro­n­avirus-afflict­ed coun­tries have proven, does much to low­er the rate of trans­mis­sion. But how, exact­ly, does trans­mis­sion hap­pen? In the video above, Youtu­ber Mark Rober, a for­mer NASA engi­neer and Apple prod­uct design­er, demon­strates the process vivid­ly by tak­ing a black­light into that most dis­eased of all envi­ron­ments: the ele­men­tary-school class­room.

You can’t see virus­es under a black­light, but you can see the spe­cial pow­der that Rober applies to the hands of the class’s teacher. At the begin­ning of the school day, the teacher shakes the hand of just three kids, touch­ing none of the oth­ers, and by lunchtime — a cou­ple of hours after Rober pow­ders the hands of one more stu­dent dur­ing morn­ing break — the black­light reveals the “germs” every­where.

This despite fair­ly dili­gent hand-wash­ing, albeit hand-wash­ing unac­com­pa­nied by the dis­in­fec­tion of sur­faces, cell­phones, and oth­er objects in and parts of the class­room. “Even if a virus is spread through air­borne trans­mis­sion,” Rober says, “those tiny droplets don’t stay in the air for long. Then they land on sur­faces, wait­ing to be touched by our hands.” This leads him to the dec­la­ra­tion that “the ulti­mate defense against catch­ing a virus is: just don’t touch your face.”

Rober calls your eyes, nose, and mouth “the sin­gle weak spot on the Death Star when it comes to virus­es. That’s the only way they can get in to infect you.” Hence, here in the time of COVID-19, the fre­quent urg­ings not just to wash our hands but to refrain from touch­ing our faces as well. Increas­ing­ly many of us have become hyper-aware of our own “germ hygiene,” as Rober calls it, but the oth­er half of the bat­tle against the pan­dem­ic must be insti­tu­tion­al: school clo­sures, for exam­ple, one of which was announced over the PA sys­tem dur­ing this very video’s shoot. “Because of this virus, we are going to be clos­ing school for three weeks,” says the prin­ci­pal, not with­out a note of excite­ment in his voice — but an excite­ment hard­ly com­pa­ra­ble to the sub­se­quent explo­sion of joy among the third-graders lis­ten­ing. Chal­leng­ing though this time may be, chil­dren like these remind us to take our fun wher­ev­er we find it.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Inter­ac­tive Web Site Tracks the Glob­al Spread of the Coro­n­avirus: Cre­at­ed and Sup­port­ed by Johns Hop­kins

Free Cours­es on the Coro­n­avirus: What You Need to Know About the Emerg­ing Pan­dem­ic

Watch Bac­te­ria Become Resis­tant to Antibi­otics in a Mat­ter of Days: A Quick, Stop-Motion Film

The His­to­ry of the Plague: Every Major Epi­dem­ic in an Ani­mat­ed Map

Jared Dia­mond Iden­ti­fies the Real, Unex­pect­ed Risks in Our Every­day Life (in a Psy­che­del­ic Ani­mat­ed Video)

200 Free Kids’ Edu­ca­tion­al Resources: Video Lessons, Apps, Books, Web­sites & More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

« Go BackMore in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.