DC History Center

Using technology to enhance exhibitions where history comes to life

The DC History Center is one of the newest additions to the cultural fabric of Washington. Located in a 1903 Beaux-Arts building that served as the city’s central library for decades, the building was restored by Apple in 2019. Created in partnership with the Historical Society of Washington, DC, the building is now home to a flagship Apple store and the Historical Society’s DC History Center.

The challenge

The Historical Society needed a way to deliver content for a history exhibit about the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Produced in partnership with Apple, the exhibit includes sixteen images that benchmark the most important moments of the building and its surrounding area. The Historical Society did not want to invest heavily in audiovisual hardware and a BYOD (bring your own device) solution was required to enhance the minimalist exhibit. Given the building’s mixed reuse, technology would be a great way to meet this need. Since a new Apple flagship store was opening in the building simultaneously, the museum was sure most every visitor would have an iPhone on hand.

Our solution

Smartify provided an adaptable solution and an exciting new way to market exhibits and programs to Smartify users at-large. Within a few weeks, the small but able staff at the Historical Society created a way to enhance the physical exhibit with more images on Smartify. Smartify offered the opportunity to share content without the need for physical wall labels, making a minimalist space possible.

For works under copyright we used the helpful Smartify copyright icon to ensure visitors would still be able to scan and identify the artwork without viewing a thumbnail image in the app. Once the collection was live, we set-up a geolocation venue take-over so that visitors on-site would be prompted to ‘Check-In’ for a custom experience viewing only content from the Historical Society to aid their visit.

The results

The exhibit is situated in a dramatic space with a ceramic ceiling designed by renowned Spanish engineer Rafael Guastavino. Visitors are able to scan any image to access more content about the history of the building and the square. The DC History Center continues to develop ways to use Smartify for other exhibits.

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Inside the exhibition at DC History Center

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