When travel writers from the Boston Globe took New London’s Wall to Wall walking tour of downtown murals recently, their experience was enhanced by an innovative mobile app created by Connecticut College students and faculty.
The free multimedia app, called CamelTours, was developed as an accessible tool for people who visit local cultural and historical sites throughout the New London Area. Instead of the typical plaques that usually accompany such sites, CamelTours allows anybody with a smart phone to download the app, scan a QR code and then access more information about the area. The open source software at the heart of the app also allows the public to create their own tours and upload their own content, providing a vehicle to engage the local community whether they’re designing walking tours of public gardens, historic homes, art installations or other landmarks.
The specific mural content mentioned by the Globe was created by Virginia Gresham ’17 for her senior integrative project through the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology. She interviewed the artists and contributors involved with the large murals that adorn several buildings in downtown New London, and collected dozens of photos which she then uploaded to CamelTours.org.
“I wanted to engage with the community, continue to develop CamelTours technically, further CamelTours’ mission to empower communities to tell their own stories and for the project to last in perpetuity,” Gresham explained when her project launched in 2017, adding, “Artists’ voices and stories are now being heard by visitors and locals alike.”