Re/Discovering Stratford Hall Audio Tour
Empowering Visitors to Explore on Their Own
Stratford Hall’s goal for the Lee Family Audio Tour was to bring history to life through the tender, patriotic and often scandalous stories of family members who lived in Robert E.Lee’s ancestral home.
Research/Script Voice Casting/Recording Post-production
Southeastern Museum Conference, Silver medal, 2016
The different voices and the music have been things people mention as their favorites. Also the ability to linger . . . The guided tour spends about 3.5 minutes there, but a group of self-guiding women spend about 15. When they were listening to the Lee family stop . . . they were looking up and interacting with the space. One of the women actually starts conducting the music!"
Stratford Hall’s objective in providing a site specific mobile application was to create multiple tours, designed for different audiences, that would allow visitors to explore the house at their own convenience and in their own way, without waiting for scheduled docent-led tours.
Collaborating with Stratford’s team, we selected seven family members representing all four generations who lived in the house and placed each one in a different room. These people led colorful lives and each had their own memorable story to share. Visitors can choose to experience the house either by following the chronology of the stories, or by following the floor plan of the house.
We wrote scripts based on first person accounts from family members, and then cast and directed voice actors in their roles. Their stories are all about sibling rivalries, love affairs, financial troubles, keeping up with the Joneses – in their case the George Washingtons. The details are unique but their situations are familiar, thus visitors find themselves drawn into history.
We also produced a time lapse video for the mobile tour, so visitors can go behind the scenes to see what restoration work on an old house looks like. The camera captured the deconstruction of the 1930s renovation of the Parlor, to prepare it for a more historically accurate restoration in 2015. You can watch an excerpt below.
The (Re)Discover Stratford mobile app uses the OnCell platform and includes three other tours. The project was guided, from concept to completion, by consultant Charles Outhier.
Comments on Trip Advisor and other travel sites are positive! “The self-guided tour gave very interesting insight as to how the Plantation operated and survived through the years. Using an ipod and headphones, you’re guided through each room on the upper floor of the main house.”