Have you ever gone to a battlefield and wished that you could go back in time and see how the battle unfolded, or talk to one of the participants or witnesses of the event? The American Battlefield Trust is starting a project that just might be the next best thing to time travel. It’s called “augmented reality,” or “AR” for short, and we are going to use it to bring people and events to life at Gettysburg. Unlike our “virtual reality” experience, which can be viewed from your home, this augmented reality mobile app will serve as a guide while standing on the battlefield (or backyard, or classroom). Your mobile device will scan the land and virtually place people and things from history right there, where it all happened. Even if you’ve visited the hallowed ground of Gettysburg, this AR app will create a reason to return, again and again.
UPDATE: We have made exciting progress towards our ultimate goal of raising $200,000 to create the first truly augmented reality experience at Gettysburg. We are at over 90% of our goal! And now a donor has stepped up to offer to match gifts up to $10,000. Her generosity will get us closer to finishing this round of funding and launch the app before the end of the summer.
We now have the opportunity to build upon the land we’ve saved at Gettysburg and create an experience that brings you back in time. The app we imagine costs $200,000, but a few of your fellow Trust supporters have given generous gifts to jumpstart the effort to bring our cost down to $50,000. That means we are able to multiply your generosity by a factor of $4-to-$1 to make it possible to visit The Angle and see a wounded Alonzo Cushing working his cannon and experience the climax of the battle with the main characters and the grand scale of Pickett’s Charge, all through your smartphone.
Here, at the Henry V. Fuller marker, one of the least visited markers at Gettysburg National Military Park, augmented reality brings a powerful scene to life.
"The whole landscape had been changed, and I felt as though
we were in a strange and blighted land…"
– Tillie Pierce, author of At Gettysburg, or What A Girl
Saw and Heard of the Battle: A True Narrative
In this AR experience, we’ll make it feel like you are alongside Lee and Longstreet at Lee’s Headquarters, the nerve center of the Confederate army and also a hospital. Just days earlier, it had been a regular American neighborhood.
Or you may interact with John Burns fighting alongside the Iron Brigade and see that battles fought in backyards sometimes included the local population—in this case a 69-year-old man who became the “Hero of Gettysburg.”
Chief Historian Garry Adelman testing the app on a tablet at Little Round Top.
But we need your help to make this happen. This kind of technology is still cutting edge and expensive. The mobile app we imagine costs $200,000, but a few of your fellow Trust supporters have given generous gifts to jumpstart the effort to bring our cost down to $50,000 for a 4-to-1 match.
That’s $50,000 to make it possible to visit The Angle and see a wounded Alonzo Cushing working his cannon and experience the climax of the battle with the main characters and the grand scale of Pickett’s Charge.
By supporting this new app, you’ll help deliver an unforgettable experience for history lovers of all ages. Through your mobile device, you can create scenes of the crowd at the Gettysburg Address, or subtle moments, like a woman attending to a wounded soldier at the Hummelbaugh farm—a scene that shows that when the fighting was over, those who tried to kill each other, cared for each other, and every house became a hospital.
As a Token of our Appreciation...
Will you help create the first truly augmented reality experience at Gettysburg, the most storied battle of the Civil War? For a $100 donation, you’ll get it first! Even before we release the app to the public, you’ll have a chance to use it to snap selfies with John Burns and General Lee. And for that same $100 donation—which is really $400 towards the cost with the match—we’ll add your name to the digital donor wall on the app. Give $250 and you’ll get early access to the app and first access to every new scene we make for the app in the future along with a commemorative t-shirt to show off your insider status. And for a gift of $1,000 or more, you’ll get everything above plus an invitation to a VIP event at Gettysburg
Please consider making your most generous gift now to help raise the remaining dollars we need to create a never-before-seen experience of Gettysburg.