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Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
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Indiana Historical Society Transports Users Back in Time with Augmented Reality App

November 19, 2020

In addition to the museum exhibit, You Are There 1920: Celebrate Indianapolis!, the Indiana Historical Society has launched an augmented reality mobile app to help Hoosiers and history buffs celebrate the city’s bicentennial.

The app, “Celebrate Indianapolis,” transports users back in time. After downloading it, they can choose to visit 10 Indianapolis residents who left an indelible mark on the city, including Major Taylor, Eli Lilly and Madam C.J. Walker, to name a few. GPS technology then leads users to sites relevant to the historical figures, where IHS Museum Theater actors digitally appear to bring them to life.

“You point your camera at the site, and all of a sudden, coach Tony Hinkle is talking sports outside Hinkle Fieldhouse or John Dillinger is standing over his grave at Crown Hill Cemetery, reliving his glory days as a gangster,” said Daniel Gonzales, director of exhibitions research at IHS. “To evoke the time period, he appears in crackly black-and-white.”

The creation of this app was not unlike a big studio movie production, complete with scripts, actors, green screen backgrounds and more.

“It was an exciting undertaking, and we think people will be thrilled with the final product,” Gonzales said. “This is a great activity to partake in amid COVID, as all of the sites are outside, allowing for social distancing. It’s also a magical way of engaging with history, which will enthrall users of all ages.”

After visiting the historical figures and watching their brief presentation, users can take a photo with them and share it on social media through the app. Once their visit is complete, they can also go back and watch it anytime.

As time goes on, IHS will add more notable figures and information to the app, which is now available through the App Store and Google Play.

The “Celebrate Indianapolis” mobile app is presented by the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation and supported by OneAmerica Financial Partners. You Are There 1920: Celebrate Indianapolis! is presented by the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation and the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation, and supported by the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc. and Former Lt. Governor John Mutz and Carolyn Mutz, with contributing support from the Lacy Foundation.

Museum Theater is presented by the Nicholas H. Noyes, Jr., Memorial Foundation, Inc., the Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation, and Ted and Deborah Lilly, and supported by the Arts Council and the City of Indianapolis and the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation.

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