Veteran Stories at Historic Sites

Nostalgic Coincidence

World War II (1939-1945) is unequivocally one of the most well-known conflicts that the world has ever experienced. Over 16 million Americans took to the air, land and sea to fight against a tyrannical dictator who was determined to conquer foreign countries one by one. The United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union (Allied powers) combined forces to take on Germany, Italy and Japan (Axis powers). Over the course of the long war, it is estimated that the US military deaths totaled over 607,000.

On a recent Saturday morning walking into my local breakfast restaurant and seeing a group of older gentlemen enjoying their coffee and chatting. They were all wearing baseball caps with WORLD WAR II VETERAN on them. As a history enthusiast, and one of my passions being World War II, I walked over to them to thank them for their service and we immediately started chatting. Now imagine my surprise when one of the gentlemen from Ohio was in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) stationed in China and knew my grandfather, who passed away in June 2014. I couldn’t believe it!

Empathy Driven Storytelling

According to the latest United States Department of Veterans Affairs data, there are only 167,284 American WWII veterans still alive today. On average, 180 pass away each day. “Every day, memories of World War II—its sights and sounds, its terrors and triumphs—disappear.” (source – National WWII Museum). It is vital that we record their stories and experiences for future generations to always remember their brave sacrifices. Memorials and museums across the world are a wonderful example of educational resources for all ages to learn about the Greatest War – including the Battleship North Carolina. Her rich history is on full display through interactive exhibits, historical imagery, and ship artifacts, which visitors are guided through by empathy-driven storytelling.

Per a recent article from the Museum Association, there are 9 emotional drivers that are key to successful community engagement:

  • Pride
  • Hope
  • Fulfillment
  • Belonging
  • Nostalgia
  • Ownership
  • Curiosity
  • Excitement
  • Awe

Our client Battleship North Carolina’s thoughtful and educational app taps into those emotional drivers to further enhance visitors’ experience on this historical battleship.

The location based app features beacon-enabled technology that interacts with smartphones to show location-specific content as visitors move through the ship. From historical significance to entertaining factoids, the app provides insight and perspective in the palm of your hand. In addition, users can share with others by posting tips for future visitors, mapping visits ahead of time, and by collecting their favorite stories in the “favorites” section of the app. There’s even an AR feature that further brings the ship to life and allows those with limited mobility to still experience hard to reach areas of the vessel. 

Capturing the stories of veterans for generations to come is more important now than ever, in an increasingly complex and globalized society. It’s an honor to work with these types of historical sites, and we especially hope to do more like this in future!

Do you work at a historic site that could benefit from empathy-driven storytelling? Get in touch to learn more!


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