Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is collaborating with the Harpers Ferry Historical Association, Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, and Here’s My Story, to develop an app-based tour of the historic Lower Town for elementary school students and their families. To overcome issues presented by intermittent cell coverage, the project will use battery-powered beacons, each with a 3-4 year lifespan that can transmit data to smart phones and tablets without the need of cell service.
Tour content consists of first-person interpretative videos highlighting 26 important events/characters throughout Harpers Ferry’s history, including the likes of Meriwether Lewis, Jefferson, John Brown, and Dangerfield Newby—the first of John Brown’s raiders to fall in 1859. This video content will be housed on an app developed by ClickFire Media, available for download by users in advance of their arrival to the park. Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to take advantage of a newly installed WiFi Hotspot at the Visitor Center to download the free app on-site, if needed. Each beacon is affixed to a variety of structures and is programmed to communicate with the app-installed devices as they come within a pre-determined range. From there, users are prompted to watch one or more interpretive videos detailing the historic topic/character of the in-range beacon. To help promote user interaction with “Time Trekker” content, the app will also contain educational activities, such as trivia questions, for students to complete while on-site.
By showing youth the unique personal and historic stories of Harpers Ferry, we can provide entry into that which makes history so powerful—the personal connections that bridge our lives today with those that came before us. With an anticipated launch of April 2016, the “Time Trekker” beacon tour will be available for students—including 4th-graders taking advantage of the new “Every Kid In a Park” initiative—during this school year.