Supporting Experiences: The Washington Canal in Action

Mar 5, 2020ANP Home, Park Story

park ranger and man in front of window

Visitors to the National Mall can now use their mobile devices to get a different perspective of the Lockkeeper’s House with a new augmented reality program. Thanks to a donation from Eastern National, the parent company of America’s National Parks™, the enhanced immersive experience is available for free to anyone with a smartphone.

The Lockkeeper’s House, the oldest structure on the Mall, sat boarded up on the corner of 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW until 2017, when it was moved and rehabilitated. The house reopened to the public in 2018 with temporary educational exhibits. To satisfy visitor curiosity while permanent resources were being planned, the National Mall and Memorial Parks used donated funds generated by visitor purchases at their America’s National Parks™ stores to develop an enhanced Timelooper virtual reality experience.

Timelooper, the leader in augmented and virtual historical experiences, had already donated a virtual reality experience that offered visitors views of 1830s Washington, DC. With the enhanced experience funded by Eastern National, visitors can now also see the lock in action through their phones. The National Park Service consulted closely during the project’s development to ensure accuracy in the historical vignette, which features an 1837 lockkeeper ushering a boat through the canal.

Virtual and augmented reality hold great promise for enhancing visitor experiences at parks across the country. Since becoming available in October 2019, Timelooper’s National Mall and Memorial Parks experiences have already been downloaded and used more than 8,000 times. The program has been so successful that it was presented at the 2020 Public Lands Alliance Conference as a case study for integrating technology and interpretation.

Park visitors can begin their journeys by downloading the free Timelooper app and Lockkeeper’s House experience from the Apple and Android app stores. Visitors can choose to upgrade their experience at America’s National Parks™ stores throughout the National Mall, where Timelooper headsets and access to other experiences are available for purchase.

This donation was made possible by visitor purchases at America’s National Parks™ stores throughout the National Mall and Memorial Parks. Shop in-person or at the America’s National Parks™ Online Store to support more park experiences like this one.

Feature Photo: Visitors can use their personal devices to access the Timelooper experience. Photo: Trust for the National Mall.

Feature Video: Check out the official trailer for the Lockkeeper’s House augmented reality experience from Timelooper! Video: Timelooper.

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