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Ripped Apart: A Civil War Mystery

The Smithsonian has always been one of my favorite museum / museums. I suppose a person could add up how many museums, exhibits, and collections they have but who has that kind of time?

There is just so much you can interact with onsite but they also have an incredible online presence. And now, via a handy email from the iTunes people, I just found out that they’ve entered the mobile app world.

The iTunes App Ripped Apart: A Civil War Mystery is their latest cool tool. From the app description:

Ever wondered what it’s like to work at the Smithsonian? With the sudden and curious departure of her last intern, Museum Curator Isabella Wagner needs your help solving a mystery dating back to the Civil War. Could there be ghosts trapped in the basement of the National Museum of American History?

Download Ripped Apart: A Civil War Mystery, to find out.

Assume the role of a Smithsonian intern to solve puzzles, find clues, decipher documents, and explore cartes de visite photographs from the museum’s collection. These small photographs were an early form of social media — collected and shared with family members and friends in the mid-19th century.

Through stunning high resolution imagery the app simulates the type of investigative work done by Smithsonian curators, fellows, and interns while it provides players with the same thrill of discovery their staff experiences when solving an historical mystery. The game explores slavery and abolition, gender roles, and political differences between the North and South and gives players multiple perspectives on the causes, course, character, and outcomes of the Civil War.

• Immerse yourself in the stories of everyday Americans during the Civil War
• Explore photographs and belongings of four 19th century Americans
• Find clues and analyze artifacts to discover their identities
• Decipher 19th century documents to uncover evidence
• Experiment with the science of 19th century photography using your iPad’s camera
• Create digital Cartes de Visite and share them on social media
• Designed for the iPad’s high resolution display

ripped apart 2

I haven’t worked completely through it yet but it seems like a nice way to highlight issues and have kids practice historical thinking skills. I love the photos and other evidence from the period that Smithsonian has embedded into the app.

FYI – There is no specific login so students using an iPad from a cart or sharing with another student will need to finish the activity before another user can start from the beginning.

After playing the game, be sure to visit the app’s companion website to learn more about the real stories and behind the scenes research that went into creating it. You also get an interactive graphic on the companion site that links out to a wide variety of Smithsonian collections, artifacts, and teaching resources. One of the exhibits is their Price of Freedom collection with incredibly useful materials.

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