( app)

Hello All,

I found a new app a few weeks ago and forgot to post it.

It is a new iPhone app that offers self-guided walking tours of more than 250 cities worldwide.  It includes pictures, directions, and location details.  The cost is $3- $5.

Below is the link for the Boise tour ( 2 choices)


** They are also looking for authors to write tours, include photos, and add narration


More inspiration

Image by Mike Licht, and used under a Creative Commons license

I’ve stumbled across some more potential sources of inspiration for your public history projects, papers, and careers.  Here are my latest finds:

Civil War Memory is sort of meta, in that its author (Kevin Levin, a Civil War historian and high school history teacher) comments frequently on the public engagement with Civil War history. In that sense it’s just as much about public history as it is creating it. Anyway, lots of interesting stuff there, especially since the Civil War sesquicentennial celebrations are kicking off this year. I like this bit Levin penned for a blog post at the NY Times site:

The ease with which we can access and contribute to the Web makes it possible for everyone to be his or her own historian, which is both a blessing and a curse. The Internet is both a goldmine of information as well as a minefield of misinformation and distortion.

An interview with Jane McGonigal, game designer, at the NY Times. I love how McGonigal thinks about the utility of games, particularly real-world scenario games like World Without Oil. Here’s McGonigal’s recent appearance on The Colbert Report, in which she argues that playing video games may be, as far as the future of humanity is concerned, the best use of our time:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jane McGonigal
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Seb Chan reports that China Heart, a new web site and free iPhone app, recently launched. Here’s the description from the iTunes store:

China Heart is an interactive love story and mystery that uses GPS technology, art installation and performance to explore Sydney’s Chinatown. During Chinese New Year 2011, participants unravel a mystery, solving video and real life clues while following a walking tour guided by the app’s GPS technology. Starting at the Powerhouse Museum and culminating at the Chinese Garden of Friendship, they will visit significant locations in Sydney’s Chinatown and learn about history of Chinese Australians from the 19th century to now along the way.

You might find this book useful–and you can read it for free online: Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training.

Participants in The 1861 Project are writing original songs that imagine the human (versus the mythic and epic) experience of the Civil War. Eventually the project will provide space for people to discuss their own connections with the Civil War.

Here’s a post about 5 apps that encourage kids to become citizen scientists. Can you imagine an app that encourages kids (and others!) to become citizen historians? What might that look like?

Some inspiration

My mind, like many of yours, is dizzy with the possibilities engendered by the intersection of local history, public history practice, and digital tools like the iPod Touch.  I wanted to share a few potential sources of inspiration that I’ve found in my sojourns around the web.

I’m not much of a gamer, but I do enjoy a good narrative game.  I’ve been playing Echo Bazaar for at least a year now, and I recommend you check it out.  You’ll need a Facebook or Twitter account to play.  It’s set in a fictional world, but the in-game world of “Fallen London” has a rich history and cast of characters.  I don’t by any means expect you all to build anything as near elaborate as this lovely game, but it is an interesting model for those of you interested in storytelling, especially of the Choose Your Own Adventure variety.

There’s an entire wiki dedicated to the use of mobile devices in museums.

There’s a newish site called Digital Humanities Questions & Answers, and it may prove exceptionally useful to you as you formulate your project plan and implement it.  The people who participate in that forum are very generous with their time and expertise, so don’t be shy about asking questions.

Tours of London, led by the city’s homeless: an interesting approach to introducing people to the city.

What Was There is similar to HistoryPin, and it’s desperately in need of some Boise content.  Ditto Sepiatown.  And LookBackMaps.

Someone has provided a round-up of various projects that document Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.  Maybe you’ll find some inspiration for your own project?  (It’s flashier than anything we might build in a semester, but I’m especially fond of Curating the City.)

SCVNGR lets you build mobile scavenger hunts.

Hypercities is doing some cool stuff, especially around the recent Egyptian protests.  Its developers describe Hypercities thus:

Built on the idea that every past is a place, HyperCities is a digital research and educational platform for exploring, learning about, and interacting with the layered histories of city and global spaces.  Developed though collaboration between UCLA and USC, the fundamental idea behind HyperCities is that all stories take place somewhere and sometime; they become meaningful when they interact and intersect with other stories.  Using Google Maps and Google Earth, HyperCities essentially allows users to go back in time to create and explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.

Cliocaching looks to be fun.

Definitely check out the Flickr pool Looking into the Past.  (No one has yet contributed any Boise images.)

What have you found this week?

Some awesome free apps

Shawn sends along this info.

In perusing the depths of the App Store, I’ve found some awesome apps (for free!)

The American Museum of Natural History has a few apps, but one of them is the “explorer“.. it gives guided tours, exhibit searches, restaurant and restroom locations for the museum.. It has a GPS location feature that gives you directions to the exhibit that you select (or is next on the guided tour you select).. Pictures and info of the exhibit are in the App as well!

The American Museum of Natural History also has an app dedicated to their Dinosaur, and Cosmic exhibits as well… Excellent guide for a museum!

The Smithsonian has a few Apps, but mainly just for their magazine and television stuff.

Next up, is a pretty cool public App for the Boise tourist.. The description credits the Boise Weekly for it, but it’s called “CC: BOI” (Cocktail Compass Boise)… it shows all happy hour and food specials, as well as a countdown for when they end… Hours of the establishment, a brief description, as well as a Boise Weekly review of the bar/restaurant.. You can give your own reviews, read other readers reviews, as well as see it on a map, share it on a social networking site, or call the place (obviously for the iPhone only).

These are definitely worth a free download, and correlate to the ones we’re thinking up as well!


What apps are you finding?  Leave their names (and links!) here in the comments, or create a new blog post to share them.

(To get the link for an app, right-click (or, on a Mac with a one-button mouse, control-click) on its name in the App Store, then select “copy link.”)