This fall when cruise ship passengers dock at the Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion they’ll have a new way to connect with the Northend. The Old Sydney Society, in partnership with Nova Scotia Rural and Economic Development, the CBRM and the C@P Society of Cape Breton County, is in the process of designing the CBRM’s first neighbourhood-wide wireless network. With a wireless tower planned for St. Patrick’s Church Museum, this new network would enable passengers with handheld mobile devices to access online information about the Northend as they traveled the historic streets and sidewalks on foot.

According to Peyton Chisholm, curator of the Old Sydney Society, “museums need to keep pace with changes in technology. This innovative external technology would add to current internal digitization efforts and would act as a new form of outreach”. The Society hopes to launch, as a pilot project, an independent walking tour of the Northend in September 2010 that would provide passengers with information about sites and buildings throughout the Heritage Conservation District. Not only will this encourage visitors to explore Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood and visit heritage sites like Cossit House for more information, but it will bring St. Patrick’s online – opening it up for the type of web-cast programming that’s recently been launched at the Centre for Heritage and Science. Depending on the passenger uptake and overall success of the project in the fall Chisholm hopes to see new heritage applications and content added to the initial walking tour each subsequent year, “Although things are still in the planning stages, in future years it may be possible to deploy a live digital tour guide or heritage interpreter that could do everything from helping people to find a dentist to answering their specific questions about some of our Northend heritage properties”.

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