Rediscovering the Historic House Update

The guided tour has always been a staple at historic sites such as Stratford Hall. While the guided tour is not going away, we are thinking about adding news ways to experience our site. In June 2010, Executive Director PaulReber blogged about this project, highlighting the need to rethink not only the story we tell…but also how we tell the story. The first step was a symposium held October 2009 and it can be found on our website.

So you may be wondering what this means for Stratford Hall. The answer is that we do not know…yet. In May 2011, representatives from our six partner sites for this project (Darnall’s Chance, Fonthill, Menokin, Stonewall Jackson House, Durant-Kenrick House and Governor Henry Lippitt House) and consultants started to flush out what we wanted to do and what is possible. One thing we are looking at is adding smartphone tours to our interpretive offerings.

This photo is from a visit to Versailles with my friends in 2007 . You will notice that we are all about ten feet away from each other while listening to an audioguide. It is a challenge to introduce an interpretive device without isolating the visitor from everything and everyone else. This type of detached and passive tour is what we are looking to avoid using the new technology available today.

So we are asking for your thoughts.
Do you like guided tours or to explore on your own?
Have you ever used an audioguide or smartphone tour while touring a historic site? What do you like/dislike about them?

Please take a moment to comment below or on our Facebook page.