Mobile App Launch

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Date: May 25, 2012
Contact: Dr. Brett Oppegaard, NPS Volunteer & Project Coordinator, 360-521-8150
Contact: Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian, 360-816-6231

 VANCOUVER, WA - Want to learn about history at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in a new way? There's an app for that, as the Fort Vancouver Mobile app will make its public debut on June 9, in conjunction with National Get Outdoors Day.

The free app -- funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Clark County (WA) Commissioners, and Washington State University Vancouver - is the first interpretation-oriented app in the national park system. This research project has been developed by a core of about 20 scholars, many in the Creative Media and Digital Culture program at WSU Vancouver, National Park Service subject matter experts, as well as by new media professionals in the region, and by the volunteer efforts of more than 100 people throughout the community.            

While many apps provide textbook-like information about people or places in history, or connect users to wayfinding tools, the Fort Vancouver Mobile app distinctly is designed as an interface for narrative immersion into a historical place. Those who download the app (through the Android or Apple markets) will have access to interactive stories connected to physical landmarks, which help to create a synthesis of the digital and the physical at Fort Vancouver.            

On June 9, the focus of the festivities will be on the debut of the first two modules created for the app: ·     

  • "Kanaka" - About the Native Hawaiians, or "kanakas," who began coming to Fort Vancouver in the 1820s to serve as laborers. Many toiled in the sawmill, but others, such as the protagonists of this story, pastor William Kaulehlehe and wife, Mary Kaai, were drawn to this place for other reasons. Created in partnership with the Ke Kukui Foundation. ·     
  • "Kane's Wanderings" -- About Irish-born painter Paul Kane, who stopped at Fort Vancouver in the winter of 1846-1847, in the midst of traveling and documenting the people and places of the Pacific Northwest.
Other modules, such as a story focused on gender and women's issues, will be released at later special events.

A behind-the-scenes blog on the project is being kept at:

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, which attracts more than 1 million annual visitors to its Vancouver, WA, and Oregon City, OR campuses, has been seeking out younger patrons through various pioneering approaches to historical interpretation, including podcasting, digital archiving and social media feeds. 

The Fort Vancouver Mobile team, including chief ranger Greg Shine, was assembled in response to the potential offered by mobile devices, such as iPhones and Droids. Through investigations into the affordances of these integrated media devices, clips of audio, video, animation, and text, have been mixed to be delivered to visitors at the most ideal times in the most ideal places at the site to generate a sense of Fort Vancouver's story. 

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 1001 E. Fifth St., Vancouver, WA, will offer the National Get Outdoors Day and related activities, including the app launch, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 9. Admission to the event is free, and download cost of the app is free.


Last updated: February 28, 2015

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