My Virtual Tour Guide, Clio

Having lived close to D.C. for almost a year now, I had the chance to explore just a little. I remember the first time I went to D.C. and couldn’t find the White House, a very fun experience indeed. That is why I thought in interesting tour to take would be the walking tour of the Presidents Park on Clio.

Before I even made the trek to D.C. I looked at the Clio tour online and saw how it was laid out, what information was present, if it was easy to navigate, etc. There were 20 different monuments/buildings that I would pass by on this walking tour. I didn’t want to spoil to much of what I would experience on this tour, but wanted to feel comfortable in knowing what to expect.

Fast forward to my weekend trip to D.C., I hope off the metro and make my way in the direction of the White House. My first stop was at The Metropolitan Club west of the White House. 19 stops later I end at General Andrew Jackson’s Statue.

One thing I throughly enjoyed about this experience, was the usability of Clio on my phone. When I went from one stop to the next it has the google maps panel open that guided me in the way of a path or I could chose to have it give me directions. I think this is essentially one of the most important aspects because it is virtual, and if someone is doing it solo it allows them the freedom on not having to ask someone for directions. There was also a good amount information on the history of the monument or building at each stop that either I could read myself or have it read to me. In addition to what I have already mentioned, Clio had Google Earth linked as well as a few additional images on each stop. I think that is useful if one is not able to make into D.C. or for those that don’t live close enough to have the opportunity to tour.

The accessibility and user-friendly aspect of this Clio tour, is really what made my experience that much better. When it was pulled up on my phone, it had a clean look that showed me where I was meant to click next (at the top), introduction, directions, imagery, backstory, and context. I never had to stay at one spot longer than I wanted to, which is something I really loved when exploring. It allows me to digest the information and experience and stay for the amount of time that I choose.

I think that Clio offers people the ability to experience historical tours through the accessibility of their phones, it reaches a broad audience. Clio connects geographical mapping and scholarship and goes beyond traditional presentation of historical scholarship. It offers such an innovative way to get users to connect with places around them, and it does so easily. Because of I am a student of history and digital humanities, it was enlightening to experience another form of digital scholarship that is shaping how digital historians continue their work.


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