Saturday, August 11, 2012

Historical Sites

As you travel the highways and byways of our nation, have you noticed the tan and brown historical landmark signs? Have you been tempted to check out the site, but wondered if the detour would be worth the time? What if you could see photos of the site, read a review, and discover other nearby sites?

The Historical Marker Database (http://www.hmdb.org//) is the perfect site for experienced and would-be explorers. The organization describes its website as an "illustrated searchable online catalog of historical information viewed through the filter of roadside and other permanent outdoor markers, monuments, and plaques." Through photographs, written descriptions, inscription transcriptions, and maps, travelers can learn about local, state, national, and even global history.

Information is updated by fellow travelers and edited by volunteers. The website is searchable by word, phrase, category, county, state, province, or country. Basically, no matter where you are, you have the chance to learn about the history and people.

For more field trip ideas,
check out GHF's Virtual Field Trips page.
While the website is a great planning tool for trips, what makes this database really spectacular is that you can install it, for free, as an app on your smartphone (http://www.appbrain.com/app/historical-marker-database/com.ericwikman.hmdb). Using your phone's GPS, the HMdb will find your location and list a number of historical sites near you, complete with the same information as on the website.

We've used the database to discover historical markers near our home. We've used it to find interesting
places to take a break during long road trips. We've researched landmarks that we previously had passed hundreds of times and wondered what was so special. We have seen and learned more about our home and state because of this database.

Traveling doesn't need to be about getting from point A to B. Just like life, it can be about meandering, discovering, and learning. The Historical Marker Database can be an important tool on your journey.

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