Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site receives second federal grant

Funding will support Augmented Realty project to enhance visitor experience at the site

The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced that $30.9 million in grants to support 188 humanities projects have been awarded to expand access to the country’s wealth of historical resources. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is among the recipients of NEH grant funding for the second consecutive year.

Cahokia Mounds has been awarded a Digital Projects for the Public grant from the NEH in the amount of $250,000 to develop an Augmented Reality Application and bring pre-Columbian history to life for visitors.

The grant application was submitted by the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society (CMMS), the on-site support group at Cahokia Mounds. In 2019, the CMMS was awarded a $100,000 Prototype grant to develop a prototype of an Augmented Reality Application. The prototype was developed by Schwartz & Associates Creative, St. Louis, Missouri. In June 2019, CMMS submitted the prototype and application for the development phase of the project. Both grants are administered by Alie Morgan, executive director of the Society, in conjunction with Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.

“This has been a five-year project, working closely with the Schwartz team, to develop cutting-edge interpretive pieces at Cahokia Mounds,” said Lori Belknap, site superintendent, Cahokia Mounds. “It is difficult for visitors to visualize what was on the landscape 1,000 years ago, a challenge for any archaeological site. This grant will enable us to provide a unique interpretive experience using the newest technologies. Available in 2021, visitors will utilize the camera on any smart device to read a code placed on the landscape. Their device screen will then populate with houses, temples, fires, people, and other features of the Mississippian landscape at around AD 1050, as if it were on the physical landscape before you.”

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, is located in Collinsville, off Interstates 55/70.

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