Interactive Guiding and Digital Media Technology

At History Alive! and Jersey Military Tours, we believe that if you are going on a guided tour, you should be entertained and stimulated. It should be more than just sightseeing. It should be the same whether you are going by coach or bus, or under your own steam like walking or cycling.

Apart from the obvious of having an experienced tour guide, we also believe that there are many ways in which to achieve this. Simple things like pictures and maps have been used by tour guides ever since printing was invented to help describe a site, person or an event. Photographs came along and prints are now held up to see.

So why, when the world has gone digital, don’t we use that digital media technology? We do!! Our tour vehicles are equipped with TV screens so that we can show pictures, photos and maps to enhance the story that we want to tell as we are telling it. Even something simple like a moving map as you find on an airline flight lets you know where you are, as we follow the beautiful coastline of Jersey, or take a shortcut through its scenic lanes!

Out of the tour vehicle, we use an iPad Pro which holds so much more digital media data that could ever be included on laminated photos and maps tucked into a rucksack. And it is so convenient, and if properly indexed, capable of finding anything in a flash.

It is not just technology that we think is important. In telling stories, there is nothing better than a relevant prop to help explain something which is not as familiar to some of the listeners as others. So that is why we have a collection of props. It might be a stone axe-head or flint arrow heads from the stone age (found in Jersey) to Reichsmark notes, which were forced upon Islanders in the German Occupation.

MG 34 at Resistance Nest La Rocque A

As a significant part of Jersey’s history is military based, we also have a collection of original and replica weaponry and armour which would have used by attackers, as well as by Islanders (and Occupiers) to defend themselves. In showing our guests these props, we believe that they should also be able to handle them.

Jersey Military Tours guest handling Sten Mk II sub-machine gun

There is nothing like learning how heavy a medieval helmet would have been nor how big some of the swords used actually were! Equally holding a WW2 machine gun or rifle is an experience which many will never have – and when you feel the weight, you realise that some of the Hollywood action movies may be somewhat short of likely reality!

Hopefully we are doing something different which finds favour with our guests!

Marc Yates

History Alive! & Jersey Military Tours