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Visitors to the College of William & Mary’s campus can take a step back in time with a new mobile app.
The college launched a new campus walking tour in June, which allows users to visit locations on the historic campus and learn about the sites as they changed over time.
Known as “TribeTrek,” the app provides users with a short history of places on the William & Mary campus, along with historic images of the sites from different eras.
The app was developed by the college’s Earl Gregg Swem Library, and university archives specialist Steven Bookman said the app will allow people to view parts of the library’s special collections they have not seen before.
“The University Archives currently doesn’t have a content management system that displays photos that well,” Bookman said. “The library hasn’t developed an app yet so I thought it was a new and exciting way to get the history of campus out to the public.”
Bookman said he was inspired by a similar historic walking tour app focused on North Carolina State University, and wanted to create one for William & Mary. He submitted an application for a Swem Library innovation grant, a program to encourage ideas and solutions that support the library’s mission, and was awarded $7,000.
“Steve submitted a clear proposal that explained the full scope of the project and how it met our goal of fostering innovation in support of our strategic plan,” Lisa Nickel, associate dean of research and public services, said in a news release. “It was a project with high impact, and from Steve’s proposal, the sustainability of the project was manageable.”
The app features 74 sites on the tour, including the Wren Building, Barrett Hall on Jamestown Road, and the Alumni House, the only 19th-century building remaining on campus.
Bookman said more sites will be added to the app in the summer and fall.
“We’ve got most of the academic and student life buildings covered and are looking to expand to capture athletic sites such as Plumeri Park and Martin Family Stadium,” he said. “Other sites include the Dillard Complex, College Woods, and the Wildflower Refuge. I imagine we will eventually do all the houses along Jamestown and Richmond roads that house different offices and departments.”
Bookman added Swem is also looking into developing historic tours for the statues located throughout the William & Mary campus, and for sites related to black history and the college.
TribeTrek is available to download for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play. It can also be accessed and downloaded online here.