Increasing App Trail coverage through partnerships
When the ‘What Was Here?’ app first launched in 2019 it began with a single heritage trail in Beverley, and since then has gradually added more and more content to its offer. Thanks to partnerships with organisations and visitor destinations like Burton Constable Hall, Sewerby Hall & Gardens, the Humber Bridge Board, Visit Hull, and Visit East Yorkshire, we now have 29 heritage trail experiences on the app, which has developed to include mini quizzes (just for fun!) and audio commentary on selected trails.
The app concept was designed to serve the East Riding of Yorkshire area itself, but such has been the appetite from third party organisations for ‘do-it-yourself’ exploration of local heritage via smartphone, that we’ve expanded the app’s trail coverage by working together with these partners to host their own bespoke heritage trails on the platform for their customers. In particular, we’ve been pushing our horizons in the direction of North Yorkshire through collaboration with North Yorkshire Libraries and North Yorkshire County Record Office. Thanks to their efforts you can now visit the towns of Skipton, Scarborough, Harrogate, and Northallerton, and be able to walk a heritage trail on the ‘What Was Here?’ app!
It’s proved to be a very effective way of partnership-working, and in the case of North Yorkshire County Record Office and ourselves (East Riding Archives)it may even be the first time that two local authority record offices have collaborated on an internally innovated mobile app! Perhaps a bold and rather speculative statement but I’ll stake that claim, and remain open to correction, until someone offers another example! This actually signifies considerable potential for the ‘What Was Here?’ app to be used more widely in the Archives sector, as a host for services wanting to increase their digital offer. Looking ahead to a future for the platform, then the prospect of expansion to integrate the heritage agenda of other repositories would be an exciting way of moving forward with the The National Archives ‘Archives Unlocked’ strategy in a unified approach.
by Sam Bartle
Digital Archivist & Editor