As mobile technology changes how visitors connect to each other and their world, it is advantageous for national parks to consider the affordances that this new technology can provide. The Gettysburg Foundation proposes an augmented reality app that lays 3D animated reenactments of the Battle of Gettysburg over the natural landscape at popular locations throughout the Gettysburg National Military Park. The app will also provide the park’s existing driving tour as a mobile navigation tool and include audio recordings to provide additional information about the sites on the driving tour. This app will provide a multimedia approach to education that extends beyond the visitor center and fosters a greater emotional connection to the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Statement of Innovation

The potential of augmented reality (AR) in the humanities is just beginning to be explored. Although many national and state parks have created apps, not many parks have experimented with augmented reality (AR). The parks that are using AR technology are using it to locate or identify surrounding tourism sites. To our knowledge, this will be the first attempt by a national park to use AR technology to elicit an emotional response.

Statement of Humanities Significance

The Battle of Gettysburg is considered a turning point in the Civil War, because the Union victory ended General Robert E. Lee’s Northern invasion. The Battle, fought for three days in July 1863, was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War; over those three days, over 51,000 soldiers died, were wounded, or went missing. Civilians also suffered great losses, as their land was destroyed and left behind were unburied soldiers and other remnants of the war. The Gettysburg Battlefield, the grave site to so many soldiers, receives over a million visitors a year and has become a symbol of nationalism.

Read the complete proposal: A General’s Eye View: Creating an Augmented Reality App for the Gettysburg National Military Park