Cahokia Mounds introduces augmented reality experience

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
A view of Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, Ill., in September 2015. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(The Center Square) – After five years of development, Cahokia Mounds is offering a new interpretive experience.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and Interpretive Center has developed an interactive app that will allow visitors to learn more about the site. Apple users can download the app called “Cahokia AR Tour” for a cost of $4.99, which will be used to support programs at the ancient site. The site includes Monks Mound, which is considered the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the New World.

Cahokia Mound’s site superintendent Lori Belknap said the app will enhance visits to the site.

“Once the app is downloaded to your device, visit Cahokia Mounds and begin your tour at the Monks Mound parking lot where the first ‘Waypoint’ can be found,” said Belknap. “These Waypoints are unique images mounted to concrete blocks and will launch the app once scanned.”

The app will also feature content related to recent findings at the site, Belknap said.

“There is also going to be additional content that will pop up on your device when using the app, for example, there could have been an artifact that was found nearby.”

The app was developed over 5 years by Schwartz & Associates Creative, of St. Louis, and required the use of federal grant money.

In 2020, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced a $250,000 grant for the project. In 2019, the Cahokia Mounds site was awarded a $100,000 grant, according to a news release.

“About 5 years ago, they started with this idea of providing this experience and they received two grants from the National Endowment For Humanities,” Belknap said.

The app is available for download and purchase in the Apple app store and will soon be available on android devices. The Cahokia Mounds Museum will have a limited number of iPads to rent for $15.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, is located in Collinsville.

— Andrew Hensel, The Center Square

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