CLG Funds Enhance Litchfield's Website
The story of Litchfield, Minnesota (pop. 6,726) is found in its shops, churches, schools, parks, and homes. These themes and more are explored in an educational and entertaining website prepared for the city's Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) and funded in part by a Certified Local Government grant. The robust, multi-layered website created by consultant Daniel Hoisington includes headings such as Preserve, Explore, and Learn, each of which contain additional layers to delve into.
One section explores the National Register of Historic Places and provides links to the nomination forms for the Litchfield Commercial Historic District (which contains 48 properties), the Litchfield Opera House, Trinity Episcopal Church (attributed to noted New York architect Richard Upjohn), and the Grand Army of the Republic Hall. Readers can educate themselves about making building improvements and managing change through the Downtown Design Guidelines, while another section provides valuable information about architectural styles with key visual elements represented in local buildings. The lively Explore section features a fun "pastcast" tour that shares stories from 28 properties tracing Litchfield's growth from a frontier town to a significant agricultural and commercial center. Another link allows the viewer to take a walk through the Litchfield cemetery and hear stories told by some of its "residents." Other informative virtual tours provide snapshot histories of 22 historic houses and 12 churches.
Eight different educational and interactive components are found under a heading titled Learn, including a link to the Historic Context Report, which is one of the best resources to learn about the city's history. An activity book called History Around You allows participants to test their knowledge of Litchfield history. A recording of the musical, "Litchfield Is Our Home," showcases local talent and actors from California's Rose Center Theater and highlights people and events important in the community's history. "From Sweden to Litchfield: A Choose-Your-Own Adventure Story" provides the contestant with an identity as a young Swedish immigrant arriving in America and traveling to Litchfield to begin a new life. Life-changing decisions need to be made in the story that could lead to a life of happiness or poverty or even death. In "History Alive" four posters come alive with voices from the past through the magic of augmented reality, and "Preservation Bingo" challenges players to find different shapes in Litchfield's buildings and get three in a row for Bingo. Finally, "Preservation Puzzles" tests one's visual memory about Litchfield's historic buildings while attempting to piece together digital puzzles.
The new website prepared for Litchfield's Heritage Preservation Commission is both informative and engaging, with numerous links and layers that allow users to immerse themselves in and learn about the community's cultural heritage in a fun and educational way.