Tag Archives: city tours

App Spotlight: Geneva Historical Society

22 Mar

Q&A with Kerry Lippincott, Executive Director at the Geneva Historical Society

Founded in 1883, the Geneva Historical Society preserves and tells the stories of Geneva, New York through three historic house museums–the Geneva History Museum at the Prouty-Chew House, Rose Hill Mansion, and Johnston House. They launched their first cell phone tour with OnCell in early 2014 and have recently migrated their tour over to our new app builder.

Q. What were the main goals for creating your app?

A. We had two main goals for the app. First, our mission is to preserve and share Geneva’s stories and the app provides us with another tool to share those stories, including the historic photographs from our collection. Second, the app makes it easy and convenient for visitors to explore Geneva–whether its during their visit or after, the app gives them instant access to the tour’s content.

Q. What are the benefits for visitors to use the app?

A. The biggest benefit is the map which allows visitors to navigate around the city. Also, the simple convenience of it–listen, read, or do both; go at your own speed; pick and choose what stops; the ability to return as many times as you want.

Q. What do you see as the biggest benefit of having a tour?

A. It takes the historical society out of the building and into the streets. It’s like having your own personal curator or tour guide–everything is right there in your pocket!

Q. What advice would you give to other organizations who are looking to create a tour?

A. It’s all about the story. Find the places and people that make your location unique and share those stories. Yet, you don’t want to overwhelm visitors, so keep the stories short and simple. Also, if you are an organization with an extensive photo collection, the tour is a great way to share it.

Q. What benefits do you see from migrating your tour to the new platform?

A. The ability to provide more content for the visitor and information about the Geneva Historical Society. Hopefully the tour will pique visitors’ interest in Geneva and its history so they will visit our museums and make return visits to our town.

Q. How did you like working with the app builder?

A. So far so good.  For a non-techie like me, its been easy to use.

Q. Can users expect to see any new content in the upcoming year?

A. For right now we are keeping things simple, so those that are already familiar with our tour can expect to see new photographs with this re-launch. Down the road, the plan is to add some additional stops and perhaps more content through sub-pages. We also intend to customize it more with a calendar of events and implement the social media features available to us in the builder.

Geneva Historical Tour App

The Geneva Historical Society mobile tour app can be accessed on any web-enabled device at http://genevahistory.toursphere.com
or scan the QR code.

App Spotlight: Town of Peterborough, New Hampshire

10 Sep

peterborough-720_framedThe town of Peterborough is creating their Explore “Our Town” mobile app in honor of the town’s 275th anniversary.  2014 is a big year for Peterborough as it also coincides with the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the 100th anniversary of World War I, and the 75th anniversary of the debut of Thornton Wilder’s American classic, Our Town, which was written while the playwright was in residence at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough.

The app was developed by local resident and historian Tracy Messer, who researched and wrote the content for the app, with the project being supported by the Town of Peterborough. In this in-depth walking tour, Messer details over 175 sites throughout the downtown area which can be accessed by a GPS-enabled map and an alphabetical list.

The goals of the app were three-fold. “We wanted to build awareness and appreciation for the historical and architectural significance of our downtown, while also focusing on the present by promoting local business and cultural organizations,” says Messer. “We also wanted to encourage our citizens to become more actively involved in our community by providing an innovative and dynamic platform for learning about “Our Town”.

An unexpected feature is an extensive section about Thornton Wilder and his 1938 fictional three-act play about Peterborough, Our Town. The app details the play’s history, connects users to its many stage and screen adaptations, and relates the play to various sites around town.

The wealth of detail found in the app can also be demonstrated by the Interactive Civil War Statute and Memorial Gates sites, both of which allow the user to learn about each veteran listed on the monuments.

Visitor information, including anniversary event details, restaurants, and parking are also included in the app.

As general interest and further funding becomes available, new content may include expanding geographic scope beyond the downtown area, incorporating themed tours, and audio and video enhancements.

 

peterborough

Explore Peterborough’s “Our Town” on any web-enabled device at http://peterborough.toursphere.com.

App Spotlight: Metro Nashville Arts Commission

30 Jun

nashville-artsThe Metro Nashville Arts Commission launched a new mobile web app that allows visitors to discover art throughout the area that comprises the Metro Public Art Collection. The goal of the city’s Public Art program is to integrate artwork into public sites to enhance the cultural identity of the city and to make cultural experiences accessible to every citizen.

The app features over thirty sites, in addition to showcasing upcoming projects that are currently being installed. Users can choose between three distinctive tour paths–walking, bicycling, or a driving tour that takes the user through a series of public artworks located in Nashville neighborhoods affected by the 2010 flood. Interpretation is provided via audio, video, and text.

Users can discover public art based on their location with a GPS-enabled map or search by neighborhood. The app will be updated over time to include new pieces and connect users to community events, galleries, and museums throughout the city.

Explore the ArtsNashville mobile web app. Type in the http://artsnashville.toursphere.com into any web-enabled mobile device

Explore the ArtsNashville mobile web app. Type in the http://artsnashville.toursphere.com into any web-enabled mobile device.

App Spotlight: Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area

16 Apr

March-14-Blog-smartphone-NFUR-homeThe Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area celebrates and preserves the wealth of places and stories associated with the Underground Railroad found within the City of Niagara Falls and the surrounding region. During the 1800s the city was an established border crossing and served a critical role in the Underground Railroad by providing safe passage of slaves into Canada via ferry and the Suspension Bridge. Within the region there was an active network of Abolitionists and anti-slavery activists that helped provide money, food, and shelter to fugitive slaves, in addition to providing jobs and education to African Americans.

OnCell-TourSphere worked closely with the Heritage Area Committee and Environmental Design & Research, a landscape and environmental design consulting firm, to create a custom designed tour app that details the many historic sites across the region. The app consists of both a walking and driving tour, which overlap across multiple sites. The app offers interpretation via detailed history and historic imagery, and includes an interactive map which marks the tour routes.

Scan the QR code to tour the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage app or visit: http://niagarafallsundergroundrailroad.toursphere.com

Scan the QR code to tour the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage app or visit:
http://niagarafallsundergroundrailroad.toursphere.com

App Spotlight: This is Hampton, VA

21 Dec

19eb9e1949b98efcfb150d35271041c18292d866ed749363748b415c.png.301x96_q85Hampton, Virginia is a picturesque city and the site of America’s first continuous English-speaking settlement. Dating back to the 1600s, there’s lots to see in Virginia’s sixth-most populous city, and the Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau wanted to make sure that no one missed a beat. That’s why they created a digital tour guide with the “This is Hampton, VA” app on TourSphere.

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This smartphone city tour provides six “insider’s” tours in the city of Hampton: Downtown Hampton, The Virginia Air & Space Center, the Neighborhood Tour, Hampton University, Fort Monroe and Phoebus. Each walking tour highlights some of the city’s best features and provides visitors with an easy, free way to make a day or weekend out of exploring the city, making it an even more attractive destination.

To get funding for the apps, the Hampton Convention & Visitors Center tapped into each featured organization for relevant grants. This creative method allowed them to pay for the app from a variety of different sources, defraying the cost and serving the mutual interest of a number of local organizations.

  • Downtown Hampton: This one-hour, one-mile tour features an interactive map of downtown and videos that share with the tourist Hampton’s Civil War history, its connectionwith Blackbeard, the site of Bunch of Grapes Tavern (a colonial watering hole), the city’s art and culture and more.
  • Virginia Air & Space Center: Take a walking video tour of 20 aircraft and 10 spacecraft, from antique planes to space shuttles, and learn about the country’s history in the air through videos on your smartphone.
  • The Neighborhood Tour: A 90-minute walking tour of Hampton’s “heart and soul” drives you through scenic roads while giving the opportunity to explore on foot at times. View Victorian homes, waterfront vistas and more.
  • Hampton University: Tour one of the country’s leading Southern universities and its leading historically-black university. In 90 minutes, learn about Hampton University’s pivotal place in the Civil Rights movement, hear about the pro football players that played at Hampton before they “made it big,” and check out Rosa Parks’ former place of employment.
  • Fort Monroe:  One of North America’s most historic and prestigious forts, Fort Monroe has been been a place of refuge for thousands of fugitive slaves; a prison for rebel leaders; and an active military post. Check out the Lincoln Gun, a 49,000 pound cannon and the cell where Jefferson Davis was once imprisoned, all through video and an interactive map.
  • Phoebus: Take a walking tour of one of the oldest neighborhoods in Virginia’s lower peninsula with TourSphere. Videos will talk about the neighborhood’s Civil War history, the Great Depression as depicted by a Post Office mural, and more.

Hampton’s unique idea–to create a package of tours and a complete tourism experience–helps to enhance a visit for any tourist while ensuring that they don’t miss a beat in the city and adding value for member organizations that can be incorporated into tours.

To view “This is Hampton, VA,” visit http://hampton.toursphere.com or scan the QR code with your smartphone.

To view “This is Hampton, VA,” visit http://hampton.toursphere.com or scan the QR code with your smartphone.

 

App Spotlight: Virginia Air & Space Center

14 Dec

34318154b513a1d053ba071710a8b9d54d30c69b1ffb259d5e97f1fc.tiff.473x313_q85The Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau in Hampton, VA has created a unique app package that allows visitors to the city to download a package of six tours that will guide them through the city. Featuring tours of neighborhoods and universities, the comprehensive tours give an insider’s view on the city. But perhaps one of the most popular sites in Hampton is the Virginia Air & Space Center, and accordingly the app for the site gives visitors a dynamic virtual tour through the museum, exhibit by exhibit.

Opening with an exciting ride over the clouds, the Virginia Air & Space Center App guides visitors through the museum with video and audio that gives background on each exhibit. The narrator leads the user through the museum with audio and visual cues, ensuring that the visitor doesn’t miss any important highlights. With 20 aircraft and 10 spacecraft in the center, there’s lots to see.

The app highlights such aviation milestones as the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military airmen, including video interviews with some of the airmen themselves, providing living encounters of their time in combat. Or, get an up-close look at the F-4E Phantom II while listening to a history of its use and a rundown of how the aircraft is used.

Check out the space capsule that carried astronauts to the moon and back…and hear from one of the astronauts who was on the flight. You can even take a virtual tour of Mars.

The Virginia Air & Space Center is a great example of using multimedia–video and audio–to create a virtual tour that simulates an in-person tour at the museum and helps engage the visitor by providing fascinating background information and ensuring they don’t miss any important details in the museum.

To view the Virginia Air & Space Center App, visit http://hampton.toursphere.com/en/virginia-air-space-center-22607.html or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

To view the Virginia Air & Space Center App, visit http://hampton.toursphere.com/en/virginia-air-space-center-22607.html or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

Warm Up from Anywhere with Miami: An Insider’s Walking Tour

29 Nov

Dreaming of a beach vacation as the snow flurries start up and the temperatures drop? If you’re booking a ticket to the caliente winter destination of Miami, or if you just want to hide from the driving snow by dreaming about such a vacation, Miami: An Insider’s Walking Tour, powered by TourSphere, will give you the local’s view on some of the city’s hottest landmarks and most interesting stories.

Appropriately narrated by Claudia, a half-El Savadorean, half-Hatian bikini model, the audio tour leads you through the city step by step. Check out the site of the infamous Chainsaw scene from Scarface, then lighten the mood at the famous Wet Willie’s, where Claudia walks you through guzzling down one of their delicious, fruity, frozen cocktails.

Aside from Claudia’s narration and her insight on the sites and sounds of Miami Beach, the tour will provide you with local music and interviews with the city’s movers and shakers. From hot spots where “Miami Vice” filmed to famous art museums, the Insider’s Walking Tour allows tourists to get a more in-depth appreciation for the city for free and on their own time.

To view the Mobile Tour Miami: An Insider’s Walking Tour, visit http://miami.toursphere.com or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

To view the Mobile Tour Miami: An Insider’s Walking Tour, visit http://miami.toursphere.com or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

History and Technology: A Perfect Marriage

16 Nov

Newport, Rhode Island is known as an iconic location filled with historical nods to the past, through the mansions lining the coast, historic meeting houses and buildings downtown, as well as its role in the American Revolution. The Newport Historical Society has married its love and dedication to history, with technology, by providing visitors a TourSphere mobile app to explore Historic Newport.

The Newport Historical Society is dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing items from Newport’s past. Their mobile app allows the public to peruse news, events, offerings and resources and take a step back in time. Guests can also virtually visit the Museum and Gift Shop through their phone. The app, sponsored by a local Real Estate Company, is a great example of monetizing a mobile app and providing a local company great exposure to their target audience. We’ve got some more helpful tips on this topic here.

This season, The Newport Historical Society has lots to talk about! December 1st marks the beginning of the Holiday season, with their Open House event, and proceeding Holiday Lantern Tours. Next week, the Newport Mansions also debut their holiday look, with festive decorations that are not to be missed. So, first check out the mobile app and then plan your visit to historical Newport this season!

To view the Mobile Tour of The Newport Historical Society visit http://newport.toursphere.com or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

To view the Mobile Tour of The Newport Historical Society visit http://newport.toursphere.com or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

Apps as a Marketing Tool for Book Publishers

9 Nov

The digital versus print worlds have been at odds in the publishing industry for years, and while many people argue for one side or the other, smarter publishers have learned how to embrace both. The problem is, digital initiatives can be expensive and out of reach for many independent publishing houses.

Union Park Press here in Boston is one such indie publisher. They put out great titles on history, arts and culture in New England, and they were seeking a

creative way to market their latest title, Drinking Boston: A History of the City and its Spirits by Stephanie Schorow. And that’s the reason that those who pick up this title–suitable for both the history buff and the cocktail aficionado–will find a QR code in an unlikely place: on the book’s cover. The QR code leads to a TourSphere tour of the book’s bars and pubs–a virtual pub crawl that, with the help of the interactive map in the app, helps to bring the book to life and allows the user to retrace the book’s steps through the city.

Creatively marketing a book through a free app is something new to indie book publishing, which until now has seen apps and digital marketing as often outside its budget. When apps cost tens of thousands to develop, it’s hard to justify them as part of a small title’s marketing budget. But TourSphere was able to provide Union Park Press with a creative solution that addressed the issues normally faced with digitalmarketing:

  • Expense: While a traditional app can cost tens of thousands of dollars, TourSphere allows anyone to develop an app for free. A small hosting fee applies only when the app goes live.
  • Technical Expertise: Traditionally, app development requires a technical expert or programmer. TourSphere was designed to allow people to develop apps with no coding or programming; it’s a simple content management system that almost anyone will be able to use.
  • Accessibility: Normally, you’d have to decide whether you want to develop an iPhone or Android app, known as native apps, and that would leave many of your potential users out in the cold. TourSphere’s web app technology looks and feels like any other app on your phone but is accessible through any web browser on any mobile device, phone or tablet. Because it’s web based, it also allows for instant and free changes to the app whenever you want.

Drinking Boston’s virtual pub crawl app offers a dynamic addition to the book and helps connect users to its content. By launching a PR campaign around the app, Union Park Press is also able to garner additional attention for the book and engage app users who may then be interested in a more robust history in print.

For more information, or to check out the Drinking Boston app, visit http://drinkingboston.toursphere.com/en/.

Getting Spooky: 10 Unique Halloween Tours from Around the Country

28 Sep

At TourSphere. we’re big proponents of any kind of tour. Whether it’s in-person guides leading you through exhibits or one of our mobile apps giving you the low-down on little-known city tourist attractions, tours are a great way to get the most from your visit anywhere. And in autumn, when the air is crisp and the nights longer, there’s no better way type of tour to try than one that incorporates ghosts, ghost stories and other haunted happenings.

We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 picks for Halloween tours across the country. Think we’re missing one? Add it in the comments!

  • Tour Witch City: We’d be remiss not to start in our very own backyard with “The Witch City.” Salem, MA was made famous by the Salem Witch Trials in the 1600s. More than 300 years later, Salem has stayed rooted in its history with a variety of haunted and witch-related attractions. For more of a hands-on experience, check out Spellbound Tours, which combines the history of the Salem Witch Trials with ghost hunting.
  • Ghosts and Gimlets: Enjoy a drink or two with your paranormal sightings on this tour of Savannah, GA’s haunted pubs. The walking tour covers 300 years of history, ghosts and pirates and helps to explain why Savannah is considered the most haunted city in America.
  • Civil War Ghosts: There are ghost sightings, and there are historical ghost sightings. If the latter is your thing, check out Gettysburg Ghost Tours, which takes you through “No Man’s Land” to the most haunted hallways and buildings in this famous Civil War battlefield.
  • Eat, Drink & Be Scary: The Ghost Hunt at the winery Marjim Manor in Appleton, NY provides hungry participants with appetizers, a wine tasting and two glasses of wine–all the better to see ghosts. The Buffalo Paranormal Detectors bring in ghost detection equipment and leads the group through the estate to see what they can find for Halloween inspiration.
  • Hotel Haunts: The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, CO might be better for a good scare than a good night’s sleep. Known as one of the nation’s most haunted hotels, falling liquor bottles, the roaming ghost of the hotel’s founder and mysterious switchboard calls are all part of the tales you’ll hear.
  • Redrum for Real: If you find yourself in Estes Park, CO, around Halloween, it’s time to pay homage to the master of horror himself, Stephen King. Tour the Stanley Hotel–King stayed in Room #217 when writing The Shining and based his horrifying tale on the location. The tour also covers ghost stories, haunted rooms, and a spooky underground tunnel.
  • America’s Glitziest Ghosts: Las Vegas isn’t necessarily the first place that comes to mind for Halloween, but Haunted Vegas Tours shows the haunted underbelly of a city known best for showgirls and gambling. Check out the “Motel of Death,” where a number of celebrities have died , and the home of one stubborn Vegas spirit, who refuses to leave despite numerous attempts at exorcism.
  • Terror in Texas: Thanks to its Wild West history, Galveston, TX has many tales of murder, revenge, passion and more–many of which have resulted in unsettled spirits hanging around even today. The tour is based on eye-witness account of paranormal activities and incorporates spine-chilling ghost stories.
  • Haunted Mansion: A tour of the beautiful Biltmore estate is a must-do in Asheville, NC, but their latest offering puts the bizarre past of the Biltmore Village on display for those who love a little haunting with their history. Learn about serial killers, curses and a kangaroo that arrived from another dimension in this unique Halloween tour.
  • San Diego Spirits: Considered the most haunted city in the West, San Diego boasts creepy graveyards, haunted mansions, and The Travel Channel’s “Most Haunted Site in America” (The Whaley House). Enjoy racy, historical tours with a haunted twist on the Haunted San Diego Tour.

How do you get spooked in your hometown? Share your picks for the best ghost tours in our comments section!

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