The OHIO Museum Complex released a website Wednesday that allows people to explore Athens and the surrounding community.

The mAppAthens project can be used as an outdoor museum experience to help students build connections to the world outside the classroom.

There are currently nine different tours that are available on the website, such as the “Kids Nature Hike” and “The Ridges History Loop,” according to the website. There are another six tours coming soon, such as the “Campus Green Tree Tour” and the “Women’s History Tour.”

Along with those tours, the team is also taking recommendations for tours.

“Stevens is particularly interested in expanding the platform to include tours across OHIO campuses. Each tour concept must have a series of stops accompanied by a description of what the audience can expect to see at the locations,” according to a university press release. 

Some of the tours in development have seasonal themes, Stevens said in an email.

“Once we settled on a simple approach to highlight interesting ideas and places through story maps, we worked collaboratively to share facets of wellness, nature, art, history, and more — all through the lens of geography,” Stevens said.

The website was developed with the support of the Academic Innovation Accelerator, which helps new ideas get off the ground.

There are photos and a map of each tour. There is information available on the website for users to read while they walk to each location. There is also an accessibility mode that allows people to view the photos and read the information without actually going to the different locations, according to a university news release.

“This project is a place-based learning tool, leveraging knowledge and creativity to transform our campus and community into an outdoor museum for immersive, experiential learning,” OU Professor Nancy Stevens, who curated the project, said.

Stevens formed a team to work on mAppAthens when she submitted a project proposal for support from the 2017 Academic Innovation Accelerator. There are nine people working on the project, including Stevens.

The initial rollout for the project was supposed to be Fall 2018 or Spring 2019, according to the project’s description on the Instructional Innovation’s website.

The project is partnered with the Southeast Ohio History Center, The Dairy Barns Art Center and the Athens Area Chamber.

On the Athens Asylum tour, an overview is given about The Ridges’ buildings.

“This hospital proposed to cure its patients with orderly routines, beautiful views of the countryside, exposure to the arts, a built environment with abundant natural light and plenty of ventilation, a park-like setting for outdoor exercise, useful occupation, and personal attention from physicians,” according to the tour’s text.

The tour takes you to the Kennedy Museum Center, patient residential wings, the amusement hall, dining rooms and to other areas of the campus.

There is a geology trek that takes the user through the hiking trails of The Ridges. Another option is the Birder’s Trail, which can be used to learn about the bird habitats in Athens, according to the press release.

@ianmck9

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