• Part of a roofline shows from one building. Trees with fall color leaves on them fill most of the photo. A lamp-post is near center of the photo.

    Harpers Ferry Center

Boston's Faneuil Hall Visitor Center Goes Mobile

a hand holding an iphone with the Boston app displayed on its screenHarpers Ferry Center has teamed up with Boston National Historical Park to rethink the venerable digital kiosk—by developing an app that runs on Apple iPads and smartphones. With just a touch, swipe, or pinch of their fingers, park visitors can now easily get all the information they need to explore historic Boston.

The iPad offers advantages over traditional kiosks. Instead of learning how to navigate an unfamiliar program, users can dive into the familiar iOS interface. This ease of use extends to the visually impaired visitors; an iPad with "voice over navigation" is always available at the Faneuil Hall ranger desk. The relatively low cost of iPads will allow for the installation of additional kiosks at Faneuil Hall or partner sites.

The greatest advantage to the iPad kiosk is that people don't have to be on site to learn about the park. The kiosk program is available as a free app for Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones. Folks exploring Boston on foot can listen to ranger talks, follow guided tours, pinpoint their location on a map, and get live updates about park events. To get this five-star rated app, look for NPS Boston on the Apple App Store or Google Market.

As online reviewer Peter Fan said of the app, "We used it before our trip for planning, while on vacation last week as we walked the Freedom Trail, and will reference it again as we put our photo book together. Great job NPS!!!"

man and woman demonstrating an ipad app to a man

In Faneuil Hall, the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (second from right) checks out the NPS Boston kiosk app as BOST Superintendent Cassius Cash looks on (far right).

hand with iphone layered onto a photo of Faneuil Hall

The mobile version of the NPS Boston app runs on iOS and Android smartphones.

a map of the Charlestown Navy Yard showing location of boats, a visitor center, and other attractions

The custom designed map depicts information that anyone exploring the Boston area on foot will need. Points of interest appear prominently as three-dimensional art, and trails are easy to follow. Tapping on the blue pushpins calls up in-depth site information.

a screenshot of the app showing a map at right and tour information at left

The NPS Boston app offers guided tours of the Freedom Trail and Black Heritage Trail, and ranger-designed thematic tours. You can also create a personal tour and share it with friends.