The programming team at the Presidio Trust had bold plans for an upcoming event to commemorate the "Presidio 27" — the name for twenty-seven young GIs (each of them around the age of 19) — who staged a nonviolent sitdown at the Army Stockade 50 years ago, over the filthy conditions inside. The Presidio 27 events would also be one of the first they produced for a site-specific location in the park: in this case, at the historical stockade building still standing. Yet this history took place at the height of the Vietnam War, so it was important that the story convey a great deal of critical context.
auut studio enthusiastically partnered with the Trust in an opportunity to pilot their use of a mobile app to reach the public. It was an opportunity to learn how visitors would use it and respond. In order to keep small the budget (and risk), we agreed upon an open-source solution. A native iOS "App Store" app requires significant engineering costs and testing, plus Apple’s time-consuming approval process. But the learning curve of DIY open-source software can also be prohibitive to history practitioners, especially under deadline.
Our studio installed the software Omeka and the plugin CurateScape on a private server (requiring no extra cost to the client). Under the direction of the Presidio Trust’s lead historian, we took the extra steps of significantly modifying the buttons, look & feel of CurateScape, so that it was easier for an audience to stay engrossed in the story — and harder to get lost onsite.