Title

Strategies for Mobile Interpretive projects for Humanists and Cultural Organizations

Abstract

This paper draws upon lessons learned from the "Mobile Historical" project funded by a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This white paper focuses on strategies for developing mobile interpretive projects. It is written primarily for humanists and cultural organizations interested in deploying mobile projects, while keeping a broad audience in mind. It is our hope that this project will help historians, historic preservationists, K–12 educators, and small historical organizations to deploy mobile projects in outdoor landscapes. Principally, we discuss the mobile project Cleveland Historical, developed by the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities (CPHDH) at Cleveland State University. In particular, we explore our efforts to transform Cleveland Historical into the mobile publishing framework Curatescape (which was termed "Mobile Historical" in our funded NEH project proposal.) Importantly, this white paper recognizes that the problems facing mobile-centered humanities projects are ambiguous and that best practices remain elusive or, at best, idiosyncratic. Indeed, we often find ourselves responding to queries about best practice with the words, "it depends." Nonetheless, we believe that our approach is suggestive of the larger considerations for implementing a mobile interpretive project, particularly those involving native mobile applications ("apps"). Finally, in writing this, we draw on insights from advisors as well as the work of project teams in a variety of places who are implementing projects using the Curatescape framework. These included, among others: Spokane Historical, Explore Baltimore Heritage, Explore Kentucky History, Discover Medina, St. Paul Historical, Connecticut Communities, and New Orleans Historical.

Date

3-2013