to content. By delivering content directly to a hand-held GPS-enabled device, the
interpretive material has the potential to create a visitor experience that is simultaneously
self-directed, has low infrastructure costs, and has minimal negative impact to the local
community and their cultural landscapes. However, the use and impacts of this
technology on heritage tourism, particularly with respect to diffuse heritage resources
such as heritage corridors and cultural landscapes, has yet to be fully explored.
This project looks at the application of locative media on the heritage landscape of the
Gullah community of St. Helena Island, South Carolina. The goal for this project was to
convey the cultural resources of an important historic landscape while adding to the
current visitor resources of the Penn Center complex, and providing a multi-layered
visitor experience. The project focused around the development of a website with two
goals: one, to inform virtual visitors about the history and culture of the community on
St. Helena, particularly as it related to the island’s cultural landscape; and two, to create
an interpretive delivery system for tourists that did not place the communities and their
residents “on display.”
The Gullah are a distinct cultural group of African Americans descended from slave
populations brought to the United States from Africa and the Caribbean. Today they live
in communities located along the southeastern coast of the United States, primarily in the
states of South Carolina and Georgia. While very attractive as a destination for many
tourists, the region does not have many sites that are well interpreted for African
American heritage. St. Helena Island is one of the most intact cultural communities in
Locative media has the potential to solve these visitor issues in a cost-effective format.
Locative media is a method in which content in the form of narrative, video, images, etc.,
can be connected with a specific GPS point location on a map or on an actual site. Thus,
the information can be accessed from two different perspectives: in front of a computer
screen virtually touring the region, or on the ground with the aid of a GPS enabled smart
phone. By either downloading a geo-referenced file or accessing a server through a cell
phone Browser in real time, a visitor to a region or site can access information about a
particular place on their smart phone or mobile device such as an IPad or tablet PC.
Using this technology allows the locative media project to describe and publicize the
significant features of the Gullah community on St. Helena Island and highlight sites of
African American heritage.
This project was made possible through Grant MT-2210-10-NC-09 from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).