Animal Crossing museum

With so many public spots currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, fun and informative locations like museums are currently inaccessible. For those playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, though, the in-game museum ran by very-good-owl Blathers offers a digital escape to something fairly close to the real thing.

Now, Blathers is a fantastic host full of knowledge on the various bugs, fish and fossils you donate, but what if you could have a real tour presented by real-life experts? Amazingly, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, located in Monterey, California, has started offering just that, sharing tours of Animal Crossing's museum online for viewers.

Staff from the aquarium have been streaming gameplay online over the past few days; yesterday, Chicago Field Museum fossil expert Emily Graslie joined in with the stream to offer up a special tour full of extra insight into the fossils available in-game.

Social media specialist Emily Simpson and content creator Patrick Webster shared the following with Polygon:

"One of Animal Crossing’s core game mechanics is cataloging the animals and fossils on your island for your island’s museum curator, Blathers — making the game, as we play it, a Natural History Museum Simulator. With these institutions closed because of COVID-19, the game can become a virtual escape to do what is, at its core, what the Aquarium and other museums do every day. We show you the amazing life you share your planet with, and tell you fun things about it! When we’re playing Animal Crossing, it feels a little bit like we’re back in our exhibit hall, rejoicing in discovering new things and sharing that with the world."

If you want to keep an eye out for the next stream, make sure to follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Twitch. You might just learn all sorts of new facts about your favourite finds.

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