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BU creates new Waco History App

A "virtual museum" to help tourists and residents learn about the rich history of Waco and Central Texas has debuted as a joint venture of Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History and The Texas Collection.

The project--"Waco History"--is a website at www.wacohistory.org and a free mobile app showcasing the people, places and moments that have shaped "the heart of Texas," said Dr. Stephen Sloan, director of the Institute for Oral History.

"We have several museums, but w'’re one of the largest cities in Texas that doesn't have a museum solely devoted to city history," he said. "We wanted something that says, 'This is Waco.'"

The app features layered, map-based, multimedia presentations, and visitors can experience curated historical tours of Central Texas through audio and video.

"We have more than 50 historical entries on the site and will build this to have hundreds more," Sloan said. "This will be an ongoing project."

Events and sites featured will range from pre-history--such as the Waco Mammoth Site--to the present.

"Waco History" began with an undergraduate class in oral history that Sloan taught in spring 2014, with more than a dozen students researching and writing entries for the site.

From an educational perspective, students involved with the project develop their skills in digital publishing and will be able to emphasize that impressive experience on their résumés, Sloan said.