Time Trek Augmented Reality

As the National Park Service approached its 100th anniversary in 2016, parks throughout the country were tasked with developing new and exciting ways to engage visitors and students. In response, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership joined forces with Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and Here’s My Story to develop a new tour program for students. Known as “Time Trekker,” this tour combines beacon technology, a mobile device app, and first-person interpretive video material to introduce users to important events and characters from Harpers Ferry’s history.

Though Harpers Ferry, WV is arguably most known for John Brown’s raid in 1859—ultimately setting in motion the American Civil War—the town has a diverse and fascinating history that traverses hundreds of years. Geared towards elementary school-aged children, “Time Trekker” is designed to encourage users to explore a myriad of other historic characters and events that have helped shape the nation’s past. In its design, the tour content consists of originally scripted short videos that highlight twenty-six important events and characters throughout Harpers Ferry’s history.

studens using a cell phone for the augmented reality trek

From Meriwether Lewis, who used Harpers Ferry as a base in 1803 while he prepared for his transcontinental expedition, to W.E.B. DuBois, who began the American Civil Rights movement at Harpers Ferry’s Storer College; from Annie Brown—John Brown’s daughter—to Dangerfield Newby—the first of his raider’s to fall; and from the railroad lines that transformed a sleepy town on the banks of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers into one of the most important industrial centers of the early 1800’s to Kate Field’s role in the annals of preservationist history by bringing John Brown’s Fort back to Harpers Ferry, students can see the role one town and its residents have played in our common heritage.

Through the use of primary source documents and current humanities scholarship, the National Park Service-produced original scripts will detail historic events as told through the eyes of those that witnessed it. In so doing, the personal reflections and reactions of the selected historic characters will serve to remind the viewer user that, although time, place, and circumstance may change, our shared human experiences will remain forever.

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