Take Longmont’s history with you when you walk, with the Longmont Museum’s new virtual tours.
Longmont’s history is present as residents walk down Main Street and see the old Imperial Hotel on Third Avenue just across from the Dickens Opera House. Signs on buildings tell of past significance, like where J.C. Penney had his first store or the former home of the Masonic Temple. Now curious Longmont residents can open up the tour on their phone and explore Longmont’s history any time they’d like.
“As we commemorate Longmont’s sesquicentennial (150th anniversary), we are committed to sharing the history of the diverse people who helped shape our community,” said Museum Director Kim Manajek in a press release. “These tours will help contextualize the Longmont landmarks people pass every day.”
The mobile app, free to use on any smartphone, has three different focused tours of the history of Longmont. One is devoted to the Historic Downtown area, with photographs, text and audio recordings on the original town plat the Chicago-Colorado Colony founded in 1871 and beyond.
The other two focus on the rich and diverse history of Longmont’s people, according to Longmont Museum Curator of History Erik Mason, with tours dedicated to the significant roles of Latinx and women’s history in Longmont.
The virtual tour release coincides with Longmont’s 150th anniversary and the new historical exhibition premiering at the Museum on August 6.
“It’s great how these two projects mesh,” Mason said. “The tours on Latino and women’s history have such interesting stories.”
One of the stories Mason highlighted was Genevieve Johnson, who had a sit-down strike in front of her ex-husband’s house on Coffman Street after he refused to pay alimony.
“This story went viral in a way, back in the 1930s. She was serenaded by the Longmont Elks band and a company in St. Louis made buttons for people here to wear,” Mason said. “I think it’s cool that we’re able to tell broader stories and hopefully it will continue to grow in the future.”
Mason hopes to expand the scope and stories that the tours tell as time goes on and take the opportunity to explore more of Longmont’s culture and history in depth with the virtual tours.
“We really hope that people will participate in the virtual tours, enjoy them and learn from them and then come down to the museum in-person after,” said Museum Marketing Manager Joan Harold.
The mobile app was developed by the museum in conjunction with the Longmont Downtown Development Association and Visit Longmont. The Latino tour is available in both English and Spanish, narrated by Layra Nicli, marketing & communications manager for NextLight. The tours can also be accessed from a computer.