Abigail Adams of the Anthropology Department and Brandon Vick of the Economics Department have been awarded a grant from the Appalachian Teaching Project to create a public history trail using geocaching to promote the history of Downtown Indiana. IUP will partner anthropology majors from the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology class (ANTH 211) with two community organizations, Downtown Indiana and the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County, to create an Adventure Learning Trail.
The ALT Project is a collaboration between IUP students from ANTH 211 and two community partners, Downtown Indiana Business Improvement District and the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County. The objective of this collaboration is to link the intellectual and creative resources of IUP students with community partners to help preserve and promote the charm, quality, and culture of Indiana by creating a sustainable community program that provides educational resources for the larger public. Students will create a virtual, historic excursion in downtown Indiana that will serve to stimulate tourism, encourage learning, and promote economic revitalization of the town through linking historical knowledge to Global Positioning Systems (i.e., geocaching) technology.
The Adventure Learning Trail will provide IUP students with an opportunity to collect oral histories and stories from local residents and “memory-keepers” with the end goal of creating a virtual geocaching tour of the town. This student-led research will enable undergraduates to collaborate with local community members to identify salient historical topics in order to chronicle the cultural heritage of Indiana. This data will then be used to create a geocaching walking tour in conjunction with the newly launched WalkWorks program in the town. Indiana is one of seven counties in the state of Pennsylvania currently participating in the program funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Center for Public Health Practice.
This collaboration will be a tool for community building. More specifically, student and community participants will aim to create an inclusive public history project that can help to unify the town and university as they work together to connect the past to the present and raise historical consciousness.