Originally published in Castine Patriot, March 14, 2019
‘Virtual’ tour allows access to Castine from anywhere
The newest of Castine’s four churches, Our Lady of Holy Hope Catholic Church serves as one of the stops on the new virtual tour of Castine.
by Monique Labbe
Ever wanted to take a tour of Castine but were not sure where to start? Curious about when the Abbott House was built or when the Unitarian Universalist and Trinitarian Congregational churches split? Thanks to a new virtual tour of Castine that recently went live, those interested in the history of the town can now take a virtual stroll while listening to and reading a detailed account of various buildings and sites in Castine.
The tour was developed by the Castine Historical Partners, composed of nonprofits including the Castine Historical Society, the Wilson Museum, Witherle Memorial Library, and other entities including Maine Maritime Academy and staff at the town office.
“This started several years ago, when we all sat down together to talk about projects that we could do collaboratively,” said Castine Historical Society Director Lisa Lutts.
Once the group decided on the project, they started browsing through the archives, choosing what internally they have called the “greatest hits” of Castine.
From the four churches in town, to the museum, to the historic former schools and homes, the group was able to compile nearly 25 historic sites of interest, made available on all smartphones, tablets, and web browsers.
“What’s neat about it is it gives historical photos of these sites, which show people not only what these places looked like, but it also shows the depth of collections we have available,” said Lutts.
Lutts said another highlight of the software used to put the tour together is that in the future, the group will be able to put together “theme specific” tours, from the Revolutionary War to the arts.
“We have a rich history here, and there is no shortage of themes we could use,” she said.
Lutts said the project was a “complete group effort.”
The tour can be accessed by visiting the websites of the organizations involved. Those using smartphones and tablets can also access it by downloading the Castine History Highlights app directly from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
While the virtual tour allows people to visit the historical sites on their own, Lutts said it will not replace the weekly walking tours that take place during the summer season, but will rather serve as a supplement to that tour.
“There are sites on the virtual tour that aren’t included in the walking tour, that are farther away from the center of town,” she said.
While the official roll out was originally planned for last fall, the project took longer to complete than anticipated. Now that it is up and running, Lutts said she is anxious for people to use it during the upcoming summer months.
“We’re looking forward to seeing and hearing what people think,” she said.