peterborough

Town trying out walking tour app, as part of its 275th celebrations

  • Peterborough resident Tracey Messer has created a walking tour app for downtown Peterborough  in advance of the town's 275th anniversary celebration.
  • Peterborough resident Tracey Messer has created a walking tour app for downtown Peterborough  in advance of the town's 275th anniversary celebration.

PETERBOROUGH — For Peterborough’s 275 anniversary celebration Columbus Day weekend in October, folks will flock downtown for festivities that include a parade, war reenactments, and a farmer’s market and food court. Thanks to Tracey Messer, historian and Peterborough resident, anyone with a smart phone will also be able to use a mobile application to learn more about the town’s celebration and history.

Messer presented a test version of the application he created using the program, TourSphere, to the Select Board Tuesday evening. He will be releasing an official version of the application in early September, a month before the Oct. 10 and 11 celebration.

For Messer, a historian, history is not just about the past. He said it’s about the future.

With this and Peterborough’s walking tour offered at the town’s 250 anniversary celebration in mind, Messer said he jumped at the opportunity to offer a digitally guided tour of Peterborough.

According to Messer and Select Board Chair Barbara Miller, this walking tour available on cellphones is the first one of its kind in New Hampshire.

Messer researched and wrote all the content for the application himself. Messer noted it’s free to create content for the app, but costs to run it.

Selectman Tyler Ward said the town is paying Toursphere for the application for the next year, about $2,000, to test it.

With an early version of the application displayed on a screen, Warren walked the Select Board through his tour. From the homepage, Messer showed how you can learn everything you would want to know about Thornton Wilder’s 1938 fictional play about Peterborough, “Our Town.” That page lists all the stage and screen adaptations of the play over the years.

In the application’s actual walking tour, Messer provides information about 175 sites throughout downtown Peterborough. It begins at the Town House on Grove Street and continues to Route 101. You could read about the Town House’s history, the Memorial Gates next door, and the Mariposa Museum on Main Street.

You can follow the tour, search alphabetically through the sites, or click on sites flagged on a dynamic map.

Messer said abridged online and paper versions are also available.

Information about restaurants, ATMs, lodging and parking are also offered on the app.

Ward asked if businesses whose websites are linked to the program will know how they app has benefited them.

Messer said you could look at how many users visited businesses’s websites from the application through metrics.

Messer also said the tour could be expanded to other historic parts of Peterborough. Audio and video could also be added to it.

The public can view an early version of the application online at http://p1756-7598236.test.toursphere.com.

What a terrific idea. Bringing important history to whoever has a cell phone - which is everyone. Congrats to the guy who thought that up. Can't wait to try it.

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