New way to look at, and interact, with Philly's history

Justin Udo
December 06, 2018 - 6:15 pm
The City of Philadelphia's new $10 million facility for its records and archives boasts a mural that stretches through multiple rooms. But this mural stands apart from just about every other one you'll see in the city.

Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The City of Philadelphia's new $10 million facility for its records and archives boasts a mural that stretches through multiple rooms. But this mural stands apart from just about every other one you'll see in the city.

The mural, which is a map of the city, uses documents and photos to tell Philadelphia's history and involvement in the slavery abolition movement, as well as housing discrimination, themes that are re-occurring throughout the archives.

"Part of it was thinking about all of the ways that individuals who might not be famous, might not have statues of them, actually worked to resist discrimination and oppression," said mural artist Talia Greene.

She says one of the features that makes the mural and the archives unique is how you can interact with them. 

"The first thing that people will do and experience when they use the app, when they scan the hot spots, is they'll see a one to three second augmented reality animation. It basically gives people an opportunity to notice things about the document that they wouldn't notice," she said. 

Talia says the technology in the archives helps bring the past to the present.

"It draws out imagery that's related to the document that isn't actually literally in the document, so it's almost like 3 dimensional X-ray in time.

The mural and the archives, which are located in the Northern Liberties neighborhood, are open to the public Monday through Friday.

Tracey Williams, the city's deputy commissioner of records and archives, talked about what people can explore and learn when they visit the 65,000 square foot facility.
Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

Listen to KYW Newsradio's Q&A with Tracey Williams, the city's Deputy Commissioner of Records and Archives, here: