A Portal Through Time:

An Enhanced, Immersive, Adaptation of the Civil Rights Heritage Center's African-American Landmark Tour

  • Challenge:
    1. Visitiors did not engage with the Civil Rights Heritage Center's African-American Landmark Tour.
    2. Just picking up a brochure at the center to tour sites was difficult to use and disinteresting.

    • Approach:
      1. Create an app that navigates users to each location on the tour.
      2. Engage visitors by providing an experience where visitors can view relevant historical photos of each site overlaid on top of the physical location.
      3. Later iterations included historical narratives that the user could listen to at each location.

      • Abstract:

        Placemaking is an approach to the design and planning of public spaces that promotes community engagement, a sense of inclusion, and dialogue. Working in collaboration with the Civil Rights Heritage Center in South Bend, Indiana, an enhanced, immersive adaptation of the center’s African American Landmark Tour is in the process of being designed. This augmented reality tour will disseminate the narrative of a part of South Bend’s history outside of the restrictions of a museum space and give life to the landmark tour in the community. It is the collision of the physical environment and the creative use of digital augmentation that brings to life the history of these spaces by enhancing the way in which the viewer can reimagine, interpret, and reengage with the space.

        Previous scholarship has identified case studies where placemaking in the form of community-minded architectural planning, environmental graphics and public art have enhanced an environment. Building on these ideas, my research explores how emerging technologies can be used as a tool to help bring light to the history of South Bends journey to civil rights, while considering its historical context, and its relationship to contemporary civil rights issues through design. By remembering and reengaging with history in new ways, the goal is to build dialogue through those stories and examine how they intersect with current discussions about civil rights and access.