n a groundbreaking move, the historical Georgia farmstead that once belonged to renowned 20th-century southern Gothic author Flannery O’Connor is teaming up with tech innovator ARtGlass to introduce captivating augmented reality (AR) walking tours for visitors. This National Historic Landmark, now owned by Georgia College & State University (GCSU), served as the creative haven where O’Connor crafted much of her literary legacy.
With the support of GCSU’s Department of Historic Museums, the cutting-edge TourBuilder software suite from ARtGlass will enhance the way this historic site is experienced. Through self-guided tours accessible on smartphones, visitors will encounter a unique fusion of their real-world surroundings and digital content. Expect to be immersed in a world where 360-degree architectural recreations, lifelike holograms of historical figures, and captivating 3D artefacts come to life against the backdrop of the farmstead.
This remarkable initiative follows the opening of the $3.5 million Andalusia Interpretive Center in March 2023, offering a creative hub for scholars and enthusiasts alike who are captivated by O’Connor’s works.
Matt Davis, the Director of Historic Museums at GCSU, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “The AR tour will be a time-machine, providing immersive storytelling and unprecedented access to some of our fourteen buildings, our collections, and insights about O’Connor herself.”
Greg Werkheiser, ARtGlass Co-founder and CEO, shared his belief in AR's potential to ignite historical excitement and enhance site visitation. He said, “We believe in AR’s power to make history exciting and increase visitation, which preserves amazing sites like Andalusia.”
The task of creating the AR content will be undertaken by ARtGlass Premier Partner, BES Studios. Richard Bailey, BES Executive Producer, expressed his excitement, noting, “The creative and educational tools TourBuilder offers us, as storytellers, are unparalleled—it’s a new frontier for tourism.”
Choosing ARtGlass was a strategic move for GCSU due to their remarkable track record in historical interpretation. Additionally, the ease of updating the tours to incorporate emerging narratives about site restoration efforts, upcoming exhibitions, and special programs factored into their decision.
Starting from Spring 2024, visitors to Andalusia will have the opportunity to embark on these AR tours. These immersive experiences will be included in the standard admission fee of $7, offering a unique and enriching way to explore this historic gem.