Though often unrecognized, history constantly brushes against us. It is present in all the places we visit, in houses we walk past, and the roads on which we drive. Stored in libraries and archives the world over, these histories link people to place, but they are not easily accessible. Wireless devices allow us to access an incomprehensible amount of information, if we know what to enter in a search field. How can the history buff easily connect with the history around them? How can a football fan travelling through Portsmouth, OH, quickly discover the local stadium NFL Hall of Fame members once called home? If a naval enthusiast gassed up in Portsmouth, NH, how could they casually learn of William Badger’s 1800’s shipyard? Clio connects you with historic places, people, and events with which you are not familiar. It is free and simple to use.
Clio is a free app and website. When the app is active, a GPS signal provides the user’s location. Clio then displays a list of historic sites within a given distance. By clicking on a listing, the user opens an in depth article on the selected site. Articles provide logistical information (address, GPS coordinates, a map, hours of operation, fees), an introduction, a deeper backstory, associated media, links, and references. User can also enter remote locations in a search bar to see far away historic sites. If you plan to visit Santa Fe next summer, you can add Fort Marcy to your historic tour. History that might remain hidden is brought to light. I use the app extensively when I travel.
Clio is the brainchild of one of my former professors, Dr. David Trowbridge, Associate Professor of History at Marshall University. To date, educators and students from have provided entries for over 11,000 historic sites across the United States. Dr. Trowbridge afforded me the opportunity to create over fifty Clio entries, and to expand several others. I am extremely grateful for the experience. He is one of the many exceptional professors in the History Department at Marshall University. The Clio app is free and available for download at the App Store and at Google play. The web site is available at The Clio.
Of the many people I researched while pursuing a degree, John C. Norman, Sr. may be my favorite. Though they lived in my home town, I had not heard of John C. Norman (father or son) until I began researching potential Clio topics associated with African- American history in West Virginia. Research begets research. I have provided links to two Clio entries connected to John C. Norman, Sr. One is for Norman’s home and the other is for Shanklin’s Grand Theater. Efforts to preserve Shanklin’s Grand Theater are on-going. It was a joy to create these entries, please take the time to read them. John C. Norman, Sr., and his family were remarkable people. I hope more people will know of them.
This link is to an article describing an innovative approach to teaching history undertaken by the History Department at Marshall University.