Covid-19 response

Virtual museum tours offer wellbeing support for students

Students are being offered virtual tours of local and international heritage venues and exhibitions during lockdown.

Girl on computer in house

Take 30 Together Virtual (T30TV), a new wellbeing-initiative led by the University’s museums service, gives students the opportunity to explore destinations such as Edinburgh Castle, Vancouver Art Gallery, Museum of Technology and Transport in New Zealand and the Shangri La Museum in Hawaii. 

Students will be led by a guide who has extensive knowledge of the heritage site, collection or exhibition during the virtual visit.

Prescribe Culture: The University of Edinburgh's Social Prescribing Initiative

T30TV was developed as way of delivering part of a wider university-led initiative called Prescribe Culture online, which aims to use heritage experiences as form of self-help for students with mental health issues. The Prescribe Culture programme provides support for the growing number students experiencing mental health issues, by drawing on research which has found cultural activities to be a beneficial, non-clinical way of managing mental wellbeing. With a recent Kings College London study finding four in ten young people are struggling with lockdown and are missing a level of routine, T30TV comes at a particularly crucial time.

Started by Ruthanne Baxter, Museums Services Manager at the University, T30TV was developed in order to provide extra support for students seeking help with mental wellbeing during lockdown. The experiences offered by T30TV take place every Wednesday and Friday, between 12-1pm, to purposely provide structure and encourage students to build a weekly routine during lockdown.

The tours are being highlighted as part of Museums Week 2020, running until May 17. This festival allows 60,000 cultural institutions across the world to virtually open their doors, with this year’s encompassing theme being ‘togetherness’.

Ruthanne Baxter, Museum Services Manager and lead on Prescribe Culture at the University of Edinburgh said: “We are delighted to be able to continue the work of Prescribe Culture through T30TV. We know that mental health is an increasing issue among students, and the findings on engaging in cultural activities as part of a holistic approach show it can be really effective.

“The Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown in particular may exacerbate pre-existing mental health issues and may cause wellbeing difficulties for others, so we are really pleased to be able to extend and adapt the Prescribe Culture offer, despite not being able to physically gather together. Indeed, we have now been able to take it beyond our shores, to allow our students to take guided tours of great institutions from Vancouver to New Zealand.”

T30TV is open to all students. For more information, or participate in a virtual tour, please email

Image: getty/fizkes