Walk it Out! Digital Project Proposal

For my digital project, I am proposing what I hope can be the “longest historical walking tour in D.C..” This tour will take history fans through the city as they learn about the rich history of the District of Columbia. This tour will jump wildly in both notoriety and chronology to instill that the world around us is filled with a vibrant history if you know where to look. The goal will be to visit all eight wards to present a true walking tour of the District that does not focus just on the greatest hits but also on the history that is not widely known outside of the city.

The audience for this project is two-fold; the first audience group is the tourists who come to the District of Columbia; this project will be hosted on google maps using the My Maps feature and will be posted on the course blog as a searchable resource. Tourists will be able to jump in at any point in the walking tour if they choose to enjoy only a snippet, or can attempt the entire tour if they are feeling up for an adventure. The second audience for this project will be the history community of TikTok; the second deliverable will be a video blog or Vlog of myself attempting to complete the entire tour in one day. This will then be posted to TikTok as an interesting way to present local history while watching someone suffer.

The final deliverable will be the completed tour with a summary of the historic locations visited, and the TikTok post of what completing the tour looks like. These will be posted on their respective sites and the course blog. A third possible deliverable is a plaque from the Guinness Book of World Records for creating and completing the longest history walking tour of a single city (they give awards for anything if you pay them); this adds nothing to the project other than notoriety.

The final evaluation of the project will consist of looking over the historic sites visited to ensure an inclusive and diverse range of historical locations. This is important as D.C. history is far more than the monuments and museums; making sure those narratives are included will present a history that the general public might not be familiar with. I will also be examining the comments left on TikTok to see if the target audience of history enthusiasts have been hit and if the project was well received by the larger TikTok community.

3 Replies to “Walk it Out! Digital Project Proposal”

  1. This seems like a great idea, and could be pretty notable if you land all of the deliverables. One question I had was if you think it will be difficult to toe the line between tourist content and historian content, sort of like the divide between popular and scholarly writing. Will you try to make one tour accessible to one audience or both? Or make the tour changeable depending on interest level and prior knowledge?

  2. Hi Austin,

    Love this project idea. I think you have something here that is a bit of a fun gimmick in its own right, but that also has the potential to be engaging and generative for thinking about stretching the limits of the walking tour as a way to engage with history in the built environment.

    Building this out as a Google My map makes sense. I do think that it might be useful to create a small stand alone website for the tour on WordPress so that the project has a somewhat persistent home for itself online. It makes sense to me that you are thinking about putting videos up on TikTok, but I also think it may be worthwhile to put videos up on Youtube too so that you could embed videos into either your map or your website.

    In any event, in terms of what platforms you use and how you set them up, I would encourage you to try and do a test run in the near future. Just do a walk for like 2-3 different places and try out recording video for it. Then you can have a first post for the site and for your TikTok account where you announce what you are doing and get a chance to try out how editing and working with the content will work. That is to say, you are going to want to have done a short test to try out a bit of what you are going to need to pull together well in advance of doing the whole trek. That way when you do your epic adventure you can be confident that you know what the work will look like and what the final product will look like once you get through editing/processing the content you generate.

    A bit part of this is going to be defining your route, if you are going to hit all eight wards and do that in a day that will be a long walk. In good news, if you go with google maps and just set up walking directions from point, to point, to point, it should end up generating both your route and somewhat accurate counts for the time it will take to walk.

  3. Hi, Austin! I really like this project, especially since you want to incorporate local D.C. history along with federal/national history. It is important to highlight the local stories as they are often overshadowed by federal history. If you are still looking for places to highlight, I would recommend talking to historians and librarians at the DC History Center and DC Public Libraries as they can point you in the direction of famous and prominent sites in D.C., such as historic houses, neighborhoods, churches, hospitals, cemeteries, etc. Additionally, I would recommend looking on “Atlas Obscura” as they have cool, off-the-beaten-path histories, such as highlighting the “The Exorcist” steps in Georgetown, the Cold War Era FBI Spy House across the from the Russian Embassy, and the story of the Knickerbocker Theater Disaster in Adams Morgan. Just some things to think about, and I’m looking forward to seeing this come to fruition!

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