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History tours get technological boost

Posted: September 10, 2012 - 10:39pm
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The Pink Dipper ice cream parlor located on Georgia Avenue in North Augusta, S.C.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
The Pink Dipper ice cream parlor located on Georgia Avenue in North Augusta, S.C.

The Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta is offering new ways to explore historical and cultural sites in North Augusta.

Brenda Baratto, assistant director of the Aiken County Historical Museum and president of the Heritage Council of North Augusta, attended a conference and won a free trial subscription for OnCell’s iPhone tour application, which features mobile tours for cities and towns throughout the country. She donated the subscription to the center in late spring, said the center’s executive director Lauren Virgo.

“It was really exciting,” she said of receiving the donation. “Blending history with technology is a wonderful way to share North Augusta’s history.”

Volunteers began researching sites, taking photographs and editing descriptions to create the Historic Downtown North Augusta Tour on the OnCell app.

The tour, which includes images and audio, made its debut July 21 on the OnCell app and features 50 sites. The tour can be downloaded on iPhones and iPads and accessed by computers.

“We could have easily added another 25 to 30 sites,” said Virgo, noting they kept the number to 50 to make it more manageable. “There’s so much history in North Augusta and so many neat stories behind each building and each site.”

The good thing about the tour, which can be driving or virtual, is that people can do it at their convenience and in their own pace, she added.

The mobile tour features information on sites such as Rosemary Inn, Lookaway Hall and Star of Edgefield; places that no longer exist such as Palmetto Park and Pond on Carolina Springs Road, which was once a thriving entertainment center; and well-known local businesses such as the Sno-Cap Drive-In, Pink Dipper and Parks Pharmacy.

The Arts and Heritage Center also created a Google Map of the tour. However, it doesn’t currently include images or audio.

Having these new options available is an exciting way to show people how interesting history can be, Virgo said.

“I think it shows that there are more to sites than just the fronts of buildings,” she said. “These buildings have stories, a history I think is fascinating to learn about.”

The tour will be available on the OnCell app through Nov. 30. While the center would like to make the tour available on the app beyond that date, doing so is currently beyond the center’s financial means, she said.

“We’re hoping that during the subscription’s trial period that we will have the support of the community to financially keep it going,” she said.

Organizations or individuals interested in making a donation for that effort can contact the center to make a designated donation.

The Google Map will be available on a continuous basis.

Contact the Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta at (803) 441-4380 or visit www.artsandheritage center.com.

TAKE A TOUR

ONCELL APPLICATION: For iPhone users: Download the OnCell application to your phone. Search “North Augusta” in the app and select the Arts and Heritage Center tour. The tour guide has 50 sites and includes audio and images for each stop. The tour is available on the app only through Nov. 30.

On a computer or tablet: Type myoncell.mobi into your Internet Explorer. Search for “North Augusta” on the Web site to explore the sites from your monitor. The tour is available on the app only through Nov. 30.

GOOGLE MAP: The Google Map tour features all tour sites with a brief description. Audio and images are not currently available with the map. To access the map, go to www.artsandheritagecenter.com, click “Explore” and select “Tours” on the left side of the page. A link to the map is available on the page. The map will be continuously available.

GUIDED TOUR: The Arts and Heritage Center offers a guided tour of some of the historic sites. If you provide the bus, the center will provide the guide. The cost is $5 per adult and $3 per student. The cost includes admission to the center. Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance by calling (803) 441-4380.

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