Four interns from the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State teamed up this summer at the Boal Mansion Museum to invent applications giving easy access for residents, schools and tourists to historic Boalsburg’s rich heritage.
Interns Charles Chiang and Thomas Pazamickas combined decades-old research by village historians with more recent research by Penn State History interns into a brand new interactive internet map.
Now people walking in the village with a smart phone can see where they are on an internet map and can access pictures and histories of most of the buildings around them on Main and Academy Streets, of St. John’s and Zion Churches on Church Street and of the Memorial Day cemetery and the Boal Mansion Museum on Old Boalsburg Road.
“We gave Charles and Tom raw data and they crafted it into easily accessible information that visitors walking in the village can get on their smart phones by going to http://boalmuseum.com/walkingtour.html,” says Boal Mansion Museum CEO Christopher Lee who supervised their work.
Lee, who is also President of the Boalsburg village Conservancy, assigned them the task to fulfill the Conservancy’s mission “to stimulate awareness of and interest in this area’s historic past.”
Meanwhile, intern Lisa Khuu produced a virtual tour of the Boal Mansion Museum that enables visitors to boalmuseum.com to view three rooms – the library, the ballroom and the Columbus Chapel – in their entirety, 360 degrees around. They can also click on certain objects in the rooms for detailed descriptions.
“So many local people tour the Boal Mansion and then say, ‘I’ve been driving by the Boal Mansion for thirty years and had no idea of the rich history inside,’” says Lee. “This virtual tour will help local people and even local teachers see some of the museum’s interior from their homes and no doubt will entice them to come see the rest in person.”
Finally, intern Filmon Beraki upgraded and improved the Boal family genealogy on the internet which thousands have accessed to find their roots. All the intern-enhanced programs can be found at boalmuseum.com on the web site menu.
The Boal Mansion Museum and the Columbus Chapel are open from May 1 to October 31 six days a week (closed Mondays). From August 26 through October 31, the daily hours are 1:30 to 5 pm. Group tours are possible at any time or any season by advance arrangement at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-466-9266.