Reflections on Investments for our History

I just returned to Reno after a few weeks of business visits on the east coast.  It was great to see our clients, and I had the chance to wrap up my trip by absorbing some of the sights in Washington D.C.  If you have not been to our nation’s capital, you need to go.  It is amazing to walk next to the iconic buildings and tour the museums.  The White House actually looks so small in person.


As I walked around the National Mall with a colleague it was inspiring to encounter the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial.  Despite the wonderfully mild winter weather, the town was pretty quiet.  That peace allowed for some reflective moments as I soaked up the inspiration and the artful execution that was on display at these amazing structures.

It’s emotional to look at these monuments.  Take for example the look in Abraham Lincoln’s eyes.  It is a fitting remembrance of a man who clearly had saved a country from crisis.The Jefferson monument makes you want to consume more content from this amazing thinker and founder of many of the democratic principles of our country.  This inspiring quote is worth squinting and reading in the photo below.

I also made a stop to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  Seeing a replica of the lunar lander, the real Spirit of St. Louis and the Wright Brothers plane is inspiring.  This is a perfect example as to why it’s important to continue to invest in our country’s museums. We need to preserve our cultural heritage for generations to come and somethings should stay far away from technology.  If you have the opportunity to visit, soak it upquietly without an iPhone in your hand. Take in the experience with your eyes, ears, and a contemplative brain.

As I looked at these hanging monuments, I wondered what the experience could be like if you used augmented reality on your phone to see an x-ray view of the plane’s engines. Listen to a quote from Lindberg as he landed on the tarmac after the historic cross-Atlantic flight.  Ways that you could make the tactile experience better with the little computers in our pockets.  I have two young kids and I sensed that in short-fashion they might be quickly fatigued of exhibits that were only a one-way (look and read) experience for consuming information.

Our generation of thinkers and tech wizards can help our country reinvest in making our historic places more engaging for the generations who are learning with technology in the classroom.

Imagine if we had a platform that connected all national monuments, parks, museums and historical treasures.  A framework that enabled digital firms to develop unique digital experiences on top of it -all connected through a singular technology platform or app.  That way, smaller institutions and out of the way locales could join a network and allow projects to be built more cost effectively.

Tourism is so important to our economic engine and strategic investments like this, and it could go a long way to bringing more people into our country and allowing them to explore both little and big stops along  the map.