Emerging Media students create Historic Athens app

Emerging Media students create Historic Athens app

April 19, 2023
Sarah Freemanfreemans@uga.edu

Using 21st Century technology to provide users with a sense of history from the 1800s and 1900s is the goal of a new Historic Athens app, created by a team of Emerging Media students.

The app was developed as the Emerging Media capstone project by Olivia Sprott (MA ’22), Meghan Telling (AB ’20, MA ’22) and Dakota Werner (AB ’20, MA ’22). They worked on the app with Tommy Valentine, executive director of Historic Athens, who was excited to work on a town and gown project.

“This is the type program you hope to have from your local university — one that provides public benefit while sharpening the skills of students,” Valentine said.  “We are very grateful for this partnership,” Valentine said.

A screenshot of the Historic Athens app.
Historic Athens app showing a listing detail and map of historical locations around Athens.

The app provides users a map of downtown Athens with historic homes, buildings and neighborhoods identified. Each location includes a picture, a brief description and a timeline of when that area was significant. A calendar, description of the mission of Historic Athens and an invitation to join the organization are also included.

The Historic Athens app was developed as a capstone project for the Emerging Media master’s degree offered through the New Media Institute. Capstone projects provide in-depth technology solutions including apps, websites, podcasts and other applications.  The projects typically span multiple semesters and cover key learnings from class from research, design concepts and prototypes, to usability studies, focus groups and development of the project. While some projects are conceived by the students, other projects like the Historic Athens app, are projects that solve needs for clients.

“Collaboration was a big part of this project,” said Telling, who now works in employee communications at CommCast. “Working for a full year as a team teaches you a lot about strengths and weaknesses and working style. Creating the road map for the year was key.”

The students benefitted in several ways and in addition to gaining valuable skills, they were able to contribute to a lasting legacy project for the community.

“I enjoyed being able to be part of something else in the community,” Sprott said. “Getting to know the Historic Athens team team and playing a small role in the larger community was an honor.”

Valentine was impressed with the creativity the team developed to introduce people to Historic Athens, as well as the longevity of the app using connectivity like syncing the calendar through a Google API to ensure event listings are up-to-date.

“This was a very impressive batch of students and what they didn’t know already, they taught themselves,” Valentine said. “Communicating a sense of history around Historic Athens was our top priority. As they worked through alpha and beta versions, they created succinct and intuitive ways to introduce people to us.”

The app, available for iOS in the app store.


A video introduction to the Historic Athens app.