Mobile Digital Public History

Explore Baltimore Heritage Mobile Application

For this class, I discovered the Explore Baltimore Heritage application, a mobile phone app that allows you to explore pieces of Baltimore history through your phone. The creator of the site is Baltimore Heritage, a nonprofit¬†historic and architectural preservation organization that aims to “preserve and promote” Baltimore’s history.

There are four main components to the application. First, you can view the “Stories” page, which seems to show specific historic sites viewable through the app. When you click on the site, you can find descriptive information about it.

Another main page on the application is the “Tours” page. Here, you can find walking tours laid out by themes. The “Tours” section of this application is probably the most useful part. I decided to try out the “Jewish East Baltimore” tour while I was in Baltimore one day recently. While it is one of the shorter tours (only 6 sites, compared to other tours which have around 20 sites), the sites were somewhat spread out in East Baltimore. While it is not entirely clear where to start and the application does not give you precise directions from one site to another, it does provide you with a map of the sites. You can also view each site from the tour page and find specific photos and information on each site. Overall, I really enjoyed this tour and I would absolutely go back and do other tours using this app!

Another page of this site is the map. The map provides a map of Baltimore with “pins” of the historic sites that Baltimore Heritage has provided information on. The user of the application can then click on each pin to see specific historic information and pictures of the sites. I was in Baltimore on a different day than my tour of Jewish East Baltimore and decided to pull the application up while there. ¬†While in the Harbor East neighborhood, through the map, I was able to find historic sites in that area.

It seems that a goal of this type of public history is provide an immediate and direct connection with history to the public. It is one thing to view a website about a location’s history when you are sitting at home in your living room. It is entirely different when you are standing at the site of history, viewing on your cell phone information on what makes that place historic and seeing pictures or videos of that site in history. It allows for a more genuine connection with history that is also specifically for the public.

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