Let Your Cell Phone Tell You About “History Here”

History Here is a fascinating cell phone app produced by the History Channel. It displays historical locations that may be hidden all around you, including architecture, museums, battlefields, monuments, famous homes, tombstones, and much more.

You can use it at home to learn what historical events happened near you. However, the History Here app will also come in handy when you’re traveling to a new city as it locates large and small museums alike. It also finds events, both famous and obscure. For instance, the first time I used History Here, it displayed information about the first National Women’s Rights Convention held in 1850 a few miles from my home. Who knew?

Besides historic homes and museums, the app also maps many graves of historic figures. Hit a spot on the map, and you’ll get a brief history lesson. You can save spots and later receive alerts when you’re walking near a mapped site.

History Here has recently added TOURS, a list of curated tours in various cities. The TOURS feature uses locations as a way to learn about historical themes and topics, such as Marilyn Monroe’s Hollywood, Civil War Atlanta, and Al Capone’s Chicago.

Historic locations also can be saved or shared by email, text message, Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Whats App, and a number of other services as well, as long as those services are already installed on your device.

It appears that the History Here app only lists US events and locations. I couldn’t find any for Canada or for other countries.

History Here is available FREE of charge for Android devices at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aetn.history.android.historyhere and for iPhone and iPad devices at https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=463240522&mt=8.

Note: History Here relies upon the device’s internal GPS receiver to determine the current location. Almost all “smartphones” have a built-in GPS, but not all the tablet computers do so. If your tablet does not contain a GPS, History Here probably will not be able to determine the current location. The app will work best on smartphones.

13 Comments

In the 1990’s I was driving south on I-25 from Albuquerque, far from any settlement, and near the historic Jornada del Muerto. If I recall correctly, I was not even able to pick up AM or FM radio stations on my car radio, and this was before I had satellite radio. A sign along the road gave me a frequency on the AM radio dial to tune, and promised some historic information on the area. So I tuned it in, and was blown away when I heard actor Ricardo Montalban greet me, and then deliver a 5-min presentation on the history of the area I was driving through. The state of New Mexico had organized this and set up one or more low power AM transmitters along some of its roads to promote tourism in the state. I especially appreciated this since it was the only radio transmission I could pick up along this stretch of road.
Since GPS is now built into most smartphones, this concept could be greatly expanded. There are still places out west where there is NO cell phone coverage along some major highways. The field is wide open for local and state agencies including museums and regional promoters to provide pre-recorded presentations that could be downloaded in advance to one’s cell phone, and then automatically start playing when the position of the smart phone matches historic sites. Actual pre-recorded travel tours could be generated for particularly rich areas, where the auto traveler could start at a given point on the map, and the tour guide could then narrate the trip including turn directions, suggest stopping points, and give in-depth information as the drive continues. Music specific to the place and relevant photographs could also be displayed. Unlike the History Here app, a prerecorded tour would not have to depend on cell phone reception, if downloaded ahead of time. These could also be operated on computers equipped with GPS.
I imagine this might have already been done for some places, but I am not aware of any specifics.

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Don’t have a cell phone!!! LOL

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Janice Nelson Cole June 16, 2016 at 1:19 am

Do similar history apps exist for other countries?

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How can you get sites added to the app?

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The advantage of this smartphone app for the producer is that it’s live and can be updated at any time. There is a link on the main web page that Dick posted, where you can submit requests for new sites to be added. The advantage of the app for the smartphone user is that they can tune into their area at any time, assuming that they have cell phone coverage where they are. One of the app’s sites, Grand Traverse Light, at the tip of the “little finger” of Michigan, is located where some people cannot get any cell phone reception, although the reception at the top of the lighthouse is very good.
I don’t see a pressing demand / need for live, continuously updated information for an app like this. If the material could be downloaded ahead of time, any tablet or computer with GPS ability could be used to present the material matched to a given location, i.e., no need for a smartphone.
QR codes – I don’t know the limit for the quantity of information that can be packed into one of these. Local historical societies & travel promoters can very easily generate QR codes, print them out, weatherproof them, and post them anywhere they please – to provide the same type of material the History Here app provides, but to on-site visitors. I have already seen a few QR codes of these at sites I’ve visited, some were attached to historic plaques.

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If you live in NYC as I do, it can give you too much information, so I need to learn how to turn it off without turning off Location Services. As soon as I downloaded it, while sitting here in my apartment, it told me I was 0.0 miles away from a historical site (which of course I knew about already).

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Reblogged this on familytreegirldotcom and commented:
Having access to information is becoming an addiction. Now an app from the History Channel. Alright Dick Eastman, sharing information on an app, means I am downloading it now. Love this history channel app. thanks for sharing!

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I love checking out new apps on my cell phone! However, I have yet to come across History Here, but it sounds fascinating. I definitely would like to use this when I go traveling, because I am always looking for cool historical things to see wherever I go.

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I don’t see a pressing demand / need for live, continuously updated information for an app like this. You can see a very old copy of Burke’s Armory on Google Books at <a href="https://books.

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    —> I don’t see a pressing demand / need for live, continuously updated information for an app like this.

    I believe it is designed primarily for use when you are on vacation and traveling to historic places or for other, similar activities.

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