HAMPTON — There’s an exciting new app out for both Android and Apple users, and one that history lovers and explorers alike should try.
The Virginia History Trails App has just been released and makes exploring Virginia and visiting history a breeze.
Simply go to the app store on your cellphone and search for it by name. The app downloads in seconds and you can quickly create an account using an existing social media or email account.
The Virginia History Trails App was made in partnership with the American Evolution 2019 commemoration. The 2019 commemoration is an effort to recognize the 400th anniversary of several key historical events in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today, according to the American Evolution site.
“The number one reason people visit Virginia is for the history,” said Kathy Spangler, 2019 director of the commemoration. “History is important in the commonwealth and we’re putting the history in your hand.”
A dozen or so locations pop-up in Hampton and Newport News, including the Mariners’ Museum and the Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center in Newport News, and the Virginia Air and Space Museum and St. John’s Church in Hampton.
The app features more than 400 of the state’s “most impactful” places, people, and events, including 200-plus actual locations.
“Virginia history is the beginning of the American story,” reads the app’s description.
Once an account is created you can log in and earn badges when “checking-in” at the various locations.
Another especially useful feature is the “near me” option. Travel to a part of the state you’re not overly familiar with, tap the near me tab, and your location is found via your phone’s GPS system. Then you’re shown nearby points of interest. The app will also allow you to tap on the locations for more information about that site. Notifications of upcoming events and festivals can also be received.
Spangler said teachers and students have already been using the app for educational purposes and hopes the app will have the same educational impact on tourists.
Each location will feature a 600 word summary of the landmark.
The app is downloaded free of charge.