Sights ~ Virtual Tour ~ Joseph Spaulding House ~ Pawtucket

Virtual Pastimes
Joseph Spaulding House Tour
30 Fruit St.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island

I first met Mark Gruman at the Rhode Island Historic Preservation Conference back in April. He was very enthusiastic about an upcoming project: virtual tours of local museums. I thought it was a great idea, too.

As someone who doesn't always have transportation to all the places I'd like to see, virtual tours are the next best thing. Also, lots of historic sites aren't mobility-friendly, which leaves out not only people with mobility issues, but also parents with children in strollers. This is a decent alternative.

Joseph Spaulding House, Pawtucket RI" by John Phelan - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mark's company, Virtual Pastimes, has just launched with a tour of the Joseph Spaulding House in Pawtucket. I got a chance to view the tour, and it's pretty good.

There's a detailed lead-up to the history of Pawtucket and Spaulding's place in it before we even enter the house. The narrator's tone is a bit flat, but the information is good.

As we tour the house, you can pause the video at any point by clicking on an item of interest. In most cases, the item you click on will present a high-resolution close-up with more detailed information. It's quite possible that we get closer in the photograph than a docent would allow if you were there in the house. There's some beautiful rugs and folk art in the house.

Currently Virtual Pastimes offers just this tour, but Dennis is working with other museums to expand his offerings. You can check out a five minute sample of the Spaulding House Tour here.

They've also developed an educational tool to help teachers utilize their virtual tour in the classroom: a BINGO board that provides teachers with a fun activity for their students. As students watch the video, they mark off their individual BINGO board that includes 24 of the ~200 artifacts included in the virtual tour. Teachers are also provided with a special timing sheet to verify BINGOs based on when the artifacts first appear in the film.

This summer they hope to be able to share the virtual tour and game with teachers and are currently seeking teachers who may be interested in beta testing the resources in the classroom (contact Mark Gruman).

Until the end of June 2015, I {heart} Rhody readers can take 20% off the full tour with the discount code PSPFRIENDSFAMILY.

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