Augmented reality app brings MLK history to sites around Austin


AUSTIN (KXAN) — An augmented reality (AR) installation that goes live on Martin Luther King Jr. Day puts users in the middle of history at various sites around Austin.

The third-annual “Austin Remembers: MLK” installation by the app maker Augzoo combines photos from the LBJ Presidential Library, mini-documentaries about Austin’s African-American history, and audio recordings from local students to turn the sites into interactive exhibits.

The app makers say it’s a way to take history outside of history books.

“When you’re focused in that book, you’re looking into that space,” Augzoo co-founder Johnny Luce said. “And with AR, the world is around you. You’re looking in every direction, you’re seeing all of the colors and the imagery and even other people walking around within the scenes.”

The company has put the experience together the last two years as well, but this year it contains more content, including more recordings from local kids remembering King’s legacy.

Users can download the Augzoo app for free and use it to make the pictures and videos pop up around the George Washington Carver Museum in east Austin; the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue on the University of Texas at Austin campus; and several locations around the Texas Capitol, including on the south steps, the Texas African American History Memorial, and the Great Walk.

“I think it really helps kind of anchor you,” Augzoo co-founder Johnny Luce said. “You have to be in this location and you’re getting a mixture of the importance of the site combined with the media.”

The statue and Capitol sites go live Monday, and the Carver site will be available Tuesday (the museum is closed Monday). The capitol and museum exhibits will be available through the end of February, while the statue site is available Monday only.

Starting Tuesday, Austinites can add to the project themselves.

“Folks can come down to the Carver Museum and record their own thoughts on Dr. King and then [that audio] will be included in the Black History Month event that we’re starting in February.”

The times to record are Tuesday, Jan. 22 from 3:30-5:30 p.m., Wedneday, Jan. 23 from 2-3 p.m., and Thursday, Jan. 24 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

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