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Virtual tours of local historic gems just a click away

Posted On: March 27, 2020

Just because you’re sheltering at home doesn’t mean you can’t visit architectural gems like DeBary Hall and the Historic Courthouse in downtown DeLand – virtual visit, that is.

With schools closed and more and more families staying inside to protect against coronavirus infection, many people are looking to cyberspace for some interesting, interactive fun to pass the time and keep minds – and children – active. And if the content also is educational, even better – particularly for parents in search of home-schooling curriculum.

To beat the doldrums, a virtual tour of DeBary Hall or the Historic Courthouse just might be the ticket. Each tour includes extensive, 360-degree panoramic views inside and outside of the buildings – the courthouse, dating back to 1929, and the DeBary Hall, a grand hunting estate built by Frederick deBary in 1871 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Both virtual tours feature loads of bonus features, such as close-ups of historical photos and embedded videos and messages that provide details on the buildings and their contents. Both tours also are compatible with virtual reality headsets to provide that full, immersive sense of being there. And with an inexpensive add-on, your smartphone can be VR enabled to also provide the full virtual experience. The tours even take you places that you can’t go on your own. For example, when taking the virtual tour of the Historic Courthouse, don’t miss the special inside the dome (Hint: cross West Indiana Avenue, enter the courthouse, proceed to the lobby by the fountain, look straight up at the dome and click on the green oval). Also, while virtually viewing the inside of the courthouse, be sure to check out the guided tour provided by the Museum of Art-DeLand of the Jackson Walker collection of paintings, "Legendary Florida," hanging in the building.

The DeBary House tour includes exterior views of the grounds and a stroll through the magnificent rooms on both floors of the house, which include some of the original furnishings. The Volusia County Community Information Division created the two virtual tours, originally as a way to provide disabled patrons with the same experience as the able-bodied. But with coronavirus prompting facility closures and driving people indoors, the tours have now taken on a whole new purpose. Community Information plans to roll out a third virtual tour soon for the Lyonia Environmental Center in Deltona.

They’re fun, fascinating virtual tours that you can take from the comfort of your computer, phone or other device. And they’re just a click away:

DeBary Hall Virtual Tour:
Historic Courthouse Virtual Tour:

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