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Clio: A new free app for seeing the history all around you when traveling

Updated on March 18, 2016

The Clio app


Commercial walking tours, city chambers of commerce, etc., all have their angles and agendas when creating maps and pamphlets for travelers. What you learn about an area is likely to be filtered by businesses who pay in, history they'd rather gloss over or maybe don't even know. That is, until now!

Clio is a free app for your phone that shows you the historical places wherever you are. Each site includes distance from where you're standing -- and it's in distance order, like other attractions apps -- and gives you the historical importance of the place.

Clio is administered by a non-profit foundation established by Dr. David Trowbridge, an associate professor of history at Marshall University. He collaborates with thousands of entries created by historical societies, museums, libraries, and educators. All of their contributions go through a rigorous screening process, so you're never picking up false information. Because they don't take any advertisements, there's no bias in how the history is listed.

You can also use the ever-growing database to plan future trips. The app is multi-media rich with historic photos and videos. Destinations that have different periods of important events show a timeline. Each place has a map, ability to create directions, as well as full contact information.

I tried this app in Baltimore, a city with many significant sites. Having lived here for 30 years, I'm well-acquainted with the history of the area. But I was shocked to find so many interesting places right near me that I was unaware of! There were early 1940's civil rights protests at a local tennis court. Major architectural buildings are included.

The app includes off the beaten path kinds of places, not simple a battle happened here and a speech happened there.

The app works for iPhone and iPad. It only takes 5.3 MB; it's well worth downloading!


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