• 17th Century Casket

A new digital publication will allow the doors of one of the country’s largest cultural trusts to remain open online during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Hampshire Cultural Trust has launched Culture on Call, www.cultureoncall.com, a new digital publication shining an online spotlight on the exhibitions, events and activities that would normally take place in its venues. As well as caring for 2.5 million objects that tell the story of the county’s past, the Hampshire charity operates 23 museums, galleries and arts centres, all of which are closed during the current lockdown.

With video, downloadable children’s activities, quizzes, articles and more, Culture on Call aims to entertain, engage and inform audiences across the county and beyond. Readers will gain an insight into just a small selection of the objects that the trust cares for, including a 17th century casket embroidered by a young girl living in Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth, as well as seeing conservation in action in a series of posts from specialist conservators.

There are online exhibitions, such as Life Through the Lens, featuring a selection of colourised historical photographs from the Fareham area, a virtual tour of Gosport Gallery’s Open Art exhibition and the work of contemporary British artist Jake Wood-Evans, recently on display in Relic at the Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre. There is also plenty to keep little hands and minds busy while they are at home, with downloadable activity sheets and ideas for family things to do, including a tree spotter trail – ideal for everyone’s daily walks.

Paul Sapwell, Chief Executive at Hampshire Cultural Trust, commented: ‘As we all experience this new and unknown period together, we hold firm to the belief that arts and heritage are now more important than ever in uplifting our spirits. Although we cannot maintain our normal, physical, social contact, culture offers a virtual community that we can all belong to. Culture on Call gives us the opportunity to bring arts and heritage direct to people in their homes, connecting culture and communities at this challenging time for all of us.’

In response to the coronavirus crisis, all Hampshire Cultural Trust venues were closed on 18 March and are likely to remain closed until 31 May.