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Telegraph Avenue is a storied Berkeley district with a new way to tour its points of cultural and historic interest.
Free App from Guidekick Helps Visitors Feel the Beat of Berkeley’s Counterculture Hear
BERKELEY, CA, March 19, 2018 –Telegraph is a vibrant Berkeley neighborhood with a storied history. Well-known events like the birth of the Free Speech Movement and People’s Park riots, as well as landmarks related to Japanese Internment and the start of Islamic Extremism in the U.S. are part of Telegraph’s legacy. A new walking tour offers a way to discover this history through the modern storytelling magic of a smartphone app.
The Telegraph Berkeley Tour is available free via the App Store and Google Play. “Over the past year, we have worked to capture the stories of people who were on the front lines of events that have shaped our community,” said Stuart Baker, Executive Director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID). “Connecting with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism gave us the professional content we had hoped for. The Berkeley Historical Society provided a wealth of photos to enrich the experience.”
Powered by an interactive 3D map developed by Guidekick, the location-sensitive app helps visitors navigate the Telegraph district and reveals how events of the day continue to impact people’s lives today. The app’s 11 locations each have multiple historical points of interest illustrated with oral histories and photos. When the app is opened, an interactive 3D map of the Telegraph District is displayed, offering a simple way to navigate between stops. Guidekick technology enables the app to be used without headphones and written text creates an equal experience for those who are hearing impaired. Time-traveling users will also be able to take thematic tours of the district, such as significant architecture, street artists, and counterculture.
With so many students in and about the neighborhood, “what the Telegraph Business Improvement District needed was an experience that could connect with young people and how they get their information,” Baker added. “Grants from the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund, the Fund for the Environment and Urban Life and other sources made the Telegraph historic walking tour of Berkeley possible.”
There are 11 narrative stops. One, “Race, Discrimination and the Shop,” narrated by Anita Medal, tells the story of a Lucky’s supermarket at Telegraph and Haste Streets. Lucky’s was the target of civil rights demonstrations until 1965 because of its anti-black hiring practices. She describes being there as CORE shoppers filled their baskets to the top, took them to the checkout and then refused to pay. “What I saw at Lucky’s I questioned and was uncomfortable with. I didn’t understand how dire it was,” she said. “Then I realized what it takes to create change, that was the whole point of it, to educate people and make them aware of how much discrimination and prejudice existed just under our noses and not just in the South.”
The tour has enormous audience potential, from curious locals and history students to visitors looking to experience Berkeley’s history and values. In addition, UC Berkeley students preparing to move to the district can explore and experience the area remotely via the app with their friends and families.
Those who participating in the creation of this historical walking tour feel knowing about Telegraph’s past is important for its future. “It supports the embryonic efforts of today’s Gen Z’s, like the high school students now running with the ball,” said Anita Medal, one of the app’s speakers. “I strongly suspect the Parkland (Florida) students know about the history of righteous struggle [here]. I think they’ve been well schooled in the progressive battles through the Americas and elsewhere.”
The TBID is collaborating with Visit Berkeley to bring the tour to local, national, and international visitors, many of whom continue to travel to Berkeley for its colorful historic legacy and progressive vibe.
About the Telegraph Business Improvement District
The mission of Telegraph Business Improvement District is to increase the vitality of the Telegraph district in Berkeley, California by improving the pedestrian environment, marketing and branding the district, supporting local businesses, and serving as a convener and advocate. For more information, please see www.telegraphberkeley.org.
About Visit Berkeley Visit Berkeley is the destination marketing organization for Berkeley, Calif. Founded in 1992, the mission of Visit Berkeley and the Berkeley Film Office is to cultivate and promote Berkeley as a desirable destination for meetings, conventions, tour groups, leisure travelers and film production while enhancing Berkeley’s economy. For more information, please see www.visitberkeley.com.
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