Spring 2018 Issue

Visions of Highland's past

By Phoebe M. Brannock ’18

This spring, visitors to William & Mary’s James Monroe’s Highland can participate in an augmented reality tour of the historic plantation owned by U.S. President and W&M alumnus James Monroe. Highland piloted the technology in February and is the first historic site to implement it in a tour. It will reveal hidden foundations, display portraits and maps, and tell the stories of the enslaved people at the plantation during Monroe’s tenure. Visitors can follow along as animated characters discuss their experiences in the early 19th century. “The power of historic sites is tied to the power of the storytelling experience — it’s about being intellectually and emotionally moved,” says Greg Werkheiser ’96. His company, ARtGlass, developed storytelling software that enables visitors to literally see cultural sites like Highland through the lens of the past.