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Foundation Matters

HCF Launches Free Mobile App Featuring House Museum Audio Guides and a Charleston City Guide

Posted: October 15, 2018

Alison and Bruce Van Patter of Lewisburg, PA were the initial app users at the Aiken-Rhett House. We’re delighted to report that they both loved the new audio guide!

Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) has launched a free mobile app that offers self-guided audio and visual tours of its popular historic house museums, the Aiken-Rhett House and the Nathaniel Russell House. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes, with “extras” available for those wishing to spend additional time learning more intimate details of the house museum and its collections and of those who lived and labored on the site. Also included in the app is a comprehensive city guide that tells the story of Charleston through the lens of preservation.

“We are happy to offer guests to the house museums the opportunity to enrich their experience through this uniquely engaging new tour,” said Winslow Hastie, President & CEO of Historic Charleston Foundation. “For some time, we’ve been working on an initiative to tell everyone’s history, and we believe the new app helps to advance that initiative. Our house museum narratives have evolved into a more complete story of not only the families who owned the properties, but also the stories of the enslaved who lived and labored there.”

The new app also features a comprehensive tour of Charleston, told through the preservation lens. With over 300 text stops and 30 audio stops, the guide covers Charleston from the Battery to Magnolia Cemetery. “The app features stories of Charleston’s more recent history, as well as its African American history, women’s history, immigrant history, LGBTQ history, and working-class history that remain largely untold,” said Northup. “Such gaps not only speak volumes about the historic biases of our city, but also how much work we have yet to do in order to progress. As a citywide preservation organization, we realized that we had a unique opportunity to interpret these overlooked and forgotten narratives through the Historic Charleston Foundation app, and thus to help shape the narrative of our city moving forward.”

The Historic Charleston Foundation app is available from the App Store or click here.

2 responses to “HCF Launches Free Mobile App Featuring House Museum Audio Guides and a Charleston City Guide”

  1. Todd Kruse says:

    Great experience with the app…. but not perfect. Since it’s almost 2022 I would recommend you invest in an upgrade to the user experience.
    Specifically… there should be large forward and backwards arrow buttons so that you can quickly re-orient your tour when you suddenly realize you went the wrong way, or didn’t hear the specific next-step instructions. Perhaps there should also be written sentence at the bottom “Where the next stop is”. I spent the whole outdoors (at Aiken-Rhett home) thinking that was one single stop, without realizing there were additional stops in the slave quarters, carriage house, and washing areas. So my wife was ready to go back into the main house and I had not listened to most of the outdoors content. Then the first stop back into the house, neither of us knew if we were supposed stop in the hallway or go into the room on the right side. We were very confused and then trying to back up in the guide is not as easy as it should be.

    Regardless, I love this concept, it’s great to have a guided tour like this. And both homes that you have tours for are amazing.

    • Blair Phillips says:

      Todd, thank you for your good suggestions to improve the app. I have shared them with our museums team. We appreciate your feedback, and thank you for visiting the Aiken-Rhett House.

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