Envisioning a “Virtual” Euclid Avenue

The website for the Euclid Corridor History Project is a digital extension of a physical effort by the city of Cleveland. “The goal of the project is to capture, preserve, and archive the stories of these Euclid Avenue neighborhoods and the people that live within them though audio-based oral histories.” In order to do so, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) began the construction of a bus rapid transit (BRT) line running from Euclid Avenue to East Cleveland. Additionally, the project encompassed an entire rebuild of not only the storefronts on Euclid Avenue, but the sidewalks and landscapes as well. Digital kiosks, designed by Cleveland State University, were installed along the way to serve as “curators” for the historical sites.

With that said, the Euclid Corridor History Project online is designed with tourists in mind. In fact, it is actually a prototype for the interactive kiosks that are part of the physical project. While the website is not in working order, it appears that it will be very easy to navigate: the tabs are clearly labeled, as are the links available in each. The “Art and History” tab allows the user to click onto specific segments of the BRT, divided by neighborhood, and to select individual stops on the line, e.g. the Cleveland Museum of Art. Choosing a stop pulls up a window containing that particular site’s history, as well as photographs and audio files (such as oral history) pertaining to it.

The remaining tabs are strictly informational in nature. The “Transit Info” tab provides links to information for tourists wishing to ride the BRT, such as trip planners, maps, schedules and farecards. Likewise, the “Events and Attractions” tab is pretty self-explanatory. It is linked to travelcleveland.com, a website that announces various events and attractions coming to the Cleveland area. One can also sign up for Cleveland eNews, a service which sends automatic updates of these events.  The final tab is dedicated to Ideastream, a partner of the Euclid Corridor History Project, who manages the Ohio Public Radio and the Listening Project 2007.

The Euclid Corridor History Project seems like a great way to preserve the history of the Cleveland area and to disseminate that information in an interesting, interactive way.  Such a project, with an emphasis on the virtual and physical intersections of history, allows each and every individual to be involved in its development. Likewise, the stories are not told simply by wall placards or tour guides; there is an opportunity for the voices of those who were present to be heard through the digital portals while visitors see the history firsthand. All in all, the Euclid Corridor History Project, both online and in its physical context, is a successful means for engaging with history.

 

3 Replies to “Envisioning a “Virtual” Euclid Avenue”

  1. This seems like a really exciting and innovative historic preservation effort. Oral histories can be a really powerful tool in connecting people to neighborhood level history, so it is neat to see them use the interviews as an essential component to the tour experience. I am also intrigued at how preservationists/historians combined forces with transportation authorities to create the project. Overall it seems like a really innovative concept that will be interesting to see how it plays out, great post!

  2. I couldn't help but think that Gowalla would be a useful supplement to this project. In addition to providing unique spots/locations to visit as part of pre-made "trips", it also can work in conjunction with up-coming attractions and events to provide custom one of a kind badges marking the times a visitor came to the city through those events. One way a visitor could then get a badge is by coming to a site, and then get a short audio bite about the history of the place before getting their badge. This could even be combined with the transportation authorities to make a fun tour for visitors. Even in development, I see that this website has a lot of potential to reach out to the public about its history.

  3. I was very impressed by what the site had up and running already. It's obviously a work in progress but even so, the idea is compelling. It would be nice to have more information on the photos that they have up. I also wish they had videos in the audio section. Or some information about the people who are giving the oral histories of the area.

    In class we spoke some about the problems they may have with the kiosks. All this information will be available when you buy your ticket but will you have the time to look at it if their are people in line behind you? That is why I love Jonathan's idea about using Gowalla to provide more interaction.

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