Mount Vernon’s New App Brings Tours, a Plant Finder, Games, and Colonial Selfies to iPhones and Android-Powered Smartphones
America’s most visited historic home has jumped into the 21st century with the launch of an innovative new app. The new Mount Vernon App is loaded with special features including interactive maps of George Washington’s estate, immersive tours, quizzes, and a “Plant Finder” designed to help garden lovers to identify what’s in bloom. Using its “Colonial Selfie” feature, visitors can dress themselves up in bonnets, powdered wigs, and tricorn hats for a photo opp that users can utilize anywhere. This app is free to download and available on the Apple Store and Google Play. For a $2.99 fee, guests can also unlock five new audio tours that cover Mount Vernon’s rich history, architecture, and gardens.
“Visitors don’t put their smartphones away when they arrive at Mount Vernon. They use them to snap photos, post to their social networks, and search for more information about what they are seeing,” said Rob Shenk, senior vice president for Visitor Engagement, who oversaw the app development. “We set out to create an app that would not only be helpful and informative, but also a platform for fun and exploration of this amazing estate.”
The app’s basic features include: Location-aware maps with more than 400 clickable points of interest—making it one of the most complete resources for information on Mount Vernon
- A searchable Plant Finder feature that filters by season, color, and location to help identify the flowers, shrubs, vegetables, and trees in bloom
- A Colonial Selfie feature, which lets guests “pose” in 18th-century attire and share the images with their social networks
- Interactive Washington quizzes and biography lessons
- Fun features like an estate-wide scavenger hunt and photo puzzles
- Essential visitor information, including updated schedules, links to restaurant reservations, tour times, and more
This new app is just one step in a digital revolution at the historic estate. In a few weeks, Mount Vernon will unveil another new offering, the Agent 711: Revolutionary Spy Adventure App. Designed with teens and tweens in mind, the Spy App will take its users across the estate as they seek to solve various challenges in the service of George Washington and his spy ring. Revolutionary war ciphers, secret ink, hidden messages, and careful observation of the enemy all play a key part in this challenge.
In developing this exciting new product, Mount Vernon took another revolutionary step, blanketing the estate’s fifty-plus acres with full WiFi coverage, which is available to guests at no cost. Mount Vernon partnered with Blue Door Networks to establish WiFi throughout the estate, helping to bring the Mount Vernon App into the pocket of every guest.
In developing the app’s capabilities and offerings, George Washington’s Mount Vernon worked with XCO Software of McLean, Virginia, a leader in developing apps for museum and cultural institutions.
“XCO Digital is proud to be George Washington’s Mount Vernon mobile technology partner for enhancing the visitor experience,” said Paul Armstrong founder of XCO. “Our joint goal was to engage, inform, and educate on-site or virtual visitors with a really dynamic app experience.”
The Mount Vernon App was developed with the financial support of The Life Guard Society for Historic Mount Vernon and Scott and Lynn Molitor. Bartlett Tree Experts funded the development of the Plant Finder feature.
For more information and to view demo videos of The Mount Vernon App, visit www.mountvernon.org/app.