National Historic Site Releases Interactive App

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)-- The National Historic Site in Fort Smith is allowing visitors to get a glimpse of history through their smartphones.

The park has created an interactive app that enhances self-guided tours.

J.P.  Allen, a tourist from San Diego, has been to all 50 states. He said he has been on a lot of museum tours, but nothing like what is now offered at the historic site.

“Sometimes it's tough to get a feel for a place,” Allen said. “I'm sure it's a lot easier to appreciate if you could get some audio or get some documents, hear some experts talk about it.”

With the new app, visitors can get all of that and more.

Park ranger Pat Schmidt helped develop the app and all its features including augmented reality.

She said guests can hold up their phone as they walk through the park and be able to see where different historic markers are and how far away they are.

"The great thing about the app is it's helping to reach visitors when we as rangers are not available."

One of the app's features unique only to the National Historic Site in Fort Smith is the ability to go on a scavenger hunt. With just the click of a button, you're on a mission, and your goal is to take a photo of every historical site on the grounds.

“We call it 'Time Rangers' because each one of the stops takes you to a different part in time within our park,” Schmidt said.

The scavenger hunt is geared toward children, but adults can do it too. When the mission is completed, the app awards a Time Rangers badge.

Another feature of the app is audio. Visitors can listen to the history of Fort Smith as they walk around the park.

Schmidt said there are still some bugs being worked out, but visitors can still enjoy the app.

The app is free, but only for iPhone users. It will be available on Android within the next few months.