Not long ago I learned of the term “augmented reality”. Dictionary.com defines it as “an enhanced image or environment as viewed on a screen or other display, produced by overlaying computer-generated images, sounds, or other data on a real-world environment.” For my fellow football fans, the yellow line on the TV screen marking the first down yard marker is an augmented reality. So, what does this have to do with history?
This term became known to me while preparing for Cleveland Metroparks 100th Anniversary in 2017. Our IT team presented this as a possible scenario for some programs, exhibits, etc. in the park. Please know that I am one who would rather be at the site or walking in the woods seeing the real thing, but once I saw a picture of what they were thinking, I was hooked. Take a look at this photo from The Museum of London showing the streetscape of today combined with yesteryear!
Imagine being able to walk up to places near the old Bluestone Quarry (Euclid Creek Reservation) with a smartphone and being able to see what the old quarries looked like while listening to the sounds of the workers talking. WOW!!!
Bluestone Quarry Pit
Late 1800s- early 1900s
I know this is not something new in certain types of displays and exhibits, but imagining the possibilities is really exciting. As I sit on the bench at Euclid Beach, instead of trying to dig back into my memory as a child, I could actually use my phone to hear the sounds of the old amusement park and see the attractions as I move from place to place without the visual distraction of too many signs. This would then allow me to spend more time reliving and enjoying my childhood memories instead of suffering from brain strain.
Euclid Beach Park Bench
Imagine watching a video of the Flying Turns
car actually zooming along the track.
Photo taken during Euclid Beach Days 2014
Photo courtesy of Cleveland State University’s
Special Collections – Cleveland Memory Project
Oh, the places we can go with technology… combining the old and the new in exciting, adventurous ways. For now it’s back out to discover new, old places that could one day come to life revealing more of Cleveland Metroparks 98 years of history.