Local history and touring app, Scioto Historical, has been undergoing massive updates through the unveiling of version 4.0 over a series of strategic release tours that have only just started.
Its creator, Dr. Andrew Feight, is proud of its tenure on the local scene, as well as the hundreds of hours put into it by himself and students alike at Shawnee State University over the course of nine years.
The launch of 4.0 began last weekend, at the Southern Ohio Museum, with the first of six new tours being released.
“We are pretty much releasing a new tour two times a month,” Dr. Feight said. “We have an Underground Railroad tour that launches on the 22 of September; October 8 is the Little Smokies Tour, which is a driving tour of Shawnee State Forest area; October 22 is the Boneyfiddle Walking Tour, which is being hosted by the Kricker Innovation Center; November 3 is the Civil Rights Movement Tour, which coincides with the celebration of the 14th Street Community Center, since it will be their 90th anniversary and award ceremony; and, then, the last one, is the pro-football tour, which is set for December 4, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the Iron Man Games.”
The tours will vary between walking, driving, and virtual.
The tour release finale will also bring on a new signage development at the stadium, which was planned by a group of stakeholders assisting Feight with the app and recent updates. Feight said that the group wanted to do something proactive with the release of 4.0, and the signage at the Stadium was an obvious move to make.
“It is an obvious need. We got together and started talking about the history of the Spartans and wanted to figure out how we can be proactive with preservation efforts,” Feight said. “It turned out that there was a gentleman from Michigan who already donated some money towards a sign or mural, so we took money he gave and used it as a basis for raising additional funds for the sign project.”
Feight explained that the new sign has some relevance in preservation, since it is being made by Tucker Jones, of TJ Signs, who fabricated the last sign over 20 years ago.
“We are pretty much sticking with the same design and keeping the columns,” Feight said, “We are just preserving what is there now and updating some of the new design elements, like the new city seal.”
Outside of new tours, the app is also undergoing a series of updates through a refresh. The app will showcase new stories, historical images, artwork, 3-d simulations, and video.
The app has come a long way since its version 1.0 release in 2013. The app has added over 90 historical markers since it started and this most recent update is the biggest yet, coming with all new stories and updated markers alike.
“This is the direction public history is going,” Dr. Feight said, “I tell my students that the future of the path is mobile and it digital and public. Technology has reached this point now where you can create historical markers that allow for a much richer experience when you’re visiting a historical site. We are able to bring historical images, audio, video, and make it accessible in your hand while you’re standing right there in Mound Park, for example. Ultimately, the idea is to encourage historic preservation of local history, but also the promotion of Portsmouth and surrounding areas as a destination for cultural heritage and tourism.”
Feight said the reaction from locals and visitors has been brilliant.
“It has been fantastic. I think people love local history. They love learning and being able to access it through the internet has made history available to folks in ways it has never been, Feight explained.
Feight said that he likes to teach anyone who will listen that America’s history happens here, which the app allows much easier, due to its tours and marker system.
“You don’t have to travel very far to really learn about American history, because we have it all right here in Portsmouth and Scioto County,” Feight said.
For more information about Scioto Historical and other projects Feight may have going on, such as the new stadium signage, call him at 740.351.3143 or email him through [email protected].
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved