Oak Alley Foundation is excited to announce the groundbreaking video kiosk system for the plantation's historic grounds tour. The first video kiosk is now available to our visitors and is the first of its kind in the River Region Area. This kiosk contains clips and animations about Louisiana and the American Civil War.
"We have a strong educational mission and strive in our endeavors to provide an experience to our visitors based on this mission," according to the Foundation's Executive Director, Zeb Mayhew, Jr. "We feel that this added quality to the self guided historic ground's tour will help guests learn the full history of Oak Alley Plantation. We wanted to create a tool that shares educational information with our visitors, in a way that is both entertaining and engaging," Mayhew continues.
This new touchscreen video kiosk is user friendly and allows visitors to review a list of available topics and then select the video of choice by merely touching the screen. The large viewing screen and powerful audio speakers allow groups of visitors to enjoy a video presentation at the same time.
Oak Alley Plantation hired a former Apple engineer, Gary Dauphin, to assist the Foundation management team in fulfilling their goal to enhance the tour through technology. Dauphin, hired as the Director of Technology, Education and Media Production, has experience in working on similar projects with the Smithsonian and other museums around the country.
"I worked with the Foundation prior to joining the team and admired how seriously they regard their mission," says Dauphin, "I knew that this project would require a very talented team so my first point of business was to secure the best in the industry and through research, met Mickey Gaidos, an experienced cinematographer, animator, and video editor." The team then secured award winning author and former television news reporter, Leo Honeycutt to narrate the film.
Using historical research provided by the plantation's historian, Vince Yardas, Dauphin and Gaidos created this project which is so much more than just a boring slideshow. "This is education at its best - engaging and informative in a way that simply delights our visitors," added Dauphin.
Oak Alley Plantation has a long term vision to use technology to help share the plantation's history. "We are not using technology to replace face-to-face interaction with our visitors, but rather to give added value to their experience," according to Mayhew. Oak Alley has an onsite Civil War historian at the Confederate Headquarter's Tent exhibit and is a prime example of this technology enhancement. This video kiosk is available even when the Colonel is not able to visit with guests.
Oak Alley Plantation plans to continue it's endeavors in exploring other technologies such as WiFi and smartphone applications. The Foundation will then carefully study feedback from visitors before rolling out a Plantation-wide technological experience to meet its overall educational goals for the visitor's experience.