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Montpelier phone app lets guests dig deeper

In July, James Madison's Montpelier in Orange County launched a new Apple I-phone application that gives visitors a wealth of details about the home and grounds literally at their fingertips.

Although the app is currently only available for devices using Apple operating systems, it will later be expanded to other operating systems. Meanwhile, guests without a personal iPhone can borrow an iPod equipped with the app, free, from the Visitor Center.

“The new app gives visitors a great way to customize and enhance their experience at the home of the Father of the Constitution as they tour the mansion and grounds,” said Sean T. O'Brien, executive vice president and chief operation officer at Montpelier, in an e-mail.

Previously, visitors used an accoustiguide with recorded descriptions of sites around the grounds keyed to numbers in a pamphlet they were given at the Visitor Center.

With the new app, a visitor who is interested in, say, a soup tureen in the mansion, can dig deeper into the appearance and background of that item.

“Visitors can better plan their trip by learning about Montpelier before they arrive and see some of the historic objects we have assembled from around the world to show how James and Dolley Madison lived at their beloved home,” said O'Brien. “The app also allows virtual visitors the chance to experience Montpelier from afar.”

Another added benefit is that guests will not have to rely solely on their memory or printed information, but will be able to keep the app on their phone and use it to enrich their experience on grounds, as they prepare for a visit beforehand or if they want to gain additional insights on their own after they leave.

“The app can be used on any Apple platform ‗―iPhone, iPad or iPod,h said O'Brien at a meeting of Montpelier staff before the launch. gAfter we get some feedback, we will ―at some point ―make the app available for Android systems.h

According to the Montpelier newsletter, “Madison Matters,” app users can also view an interactive estate map, visit the Landmark Forest and Gilmore Farm, see a video greeting from actors portraying James and Dolley and watch videos of the evolution of the mansion restoration.
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