TourSites for WordPress: An Open-Source Platform for Multimedia Tours Across Multi-Site Networks

Ty Pierce, Ohio History Connection, USA

TourSites for WordPress is an open-source platform to create multimedia tours for museums and cultural heritage institutions. As today’s users compare every experience to the benchmarks set by Apple and Google, the digital experience bar – and its corresponding price tag – continues to rise beyond what most museums can deliver. Commercial solutions can be costly, proprietary and inflexible, while low-cost solutions are often complicated to adopt, difficult to maintain and have lackluster user experiences.

Developed as part of a Digital Humanities Start-up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, TourSites for WordPress leverages the power of WordPress to deliver a robust, simple solution for institutions of all sizes. Content creators can quickly add media, organize content and create tours using drag-and-drop selections inside the WordPress CMS, which is famous for it’s ease of use and flexibility. GPS coordinates can be assigned to external locations and displayed on an interactive map, and tour content can be repurposed for use in other tours, giving content creators a high degree of flexibility. The responsive design of the end-user experience is clean, simple and effective, and for organizations familiar with WordPress development, it can easily be customized or extended to better fit their needs.

Additionally, the platform was developed to be used in multi-site networks. This enables organizations with more than one physical site to create individualized experiences using a single WordPress Network installation. Not only does this simplify maintenance, it allows for a tiered user structure that is crucial for organizations that need multiple levels of administrative access.

This session will introduce participants to the TourSites for WordPress platform, discuss the development process and evaluation results, showcase the platform’s features and current live tours, and include an open discussion of use cases for the modern museum.

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