History, There’s an App for That

Maps of the World AppYou’ve heard the commercials: from finding the nearest coffee shop, to tracking a flight, to monitoring your spending, there’s an iPhone app for that. So it should come as no surprise that there are apps for history as well.

Whether you need to reference an article of the Constitution, find out what happened today 100 years ago, or learn the history of the London street you’re on, we’ve found some apps that have got you covered.

Read on for a few suggestions, click through links to other articles on history apps, and finally, in the comments, let us know what you use.

Documents
Sometimes it would be easier if historical documents and your classroom textbook were pocket sized. Luckily, through a few iPhone apps, some are virtually so.

  • Constitution (Free) – Mix-up no amendment or article again with a complete copy of the U.S. Constitution at your fingertips.
  • Declaration of Independence (Free) – And if you have the Constitution, why not get the Declaration of Independence app as well?
  • CourseSmart (Free) – Keep your textbook— actually, 8,500 textbooks— in your pocket with this app.

Reference
Browse historical maps, quote famous speeches, and find out what happened today in history with a number of reference apps.

Tools
Some of the best apps are meant to make your life easier. Take notes and keep your class schedule organized with the following apps.

  • Evernote (Free) – Take notes, pictures, and voice memos and use the built in features that let you search text in photos, mark notes with geo-location, and make lists of favorites.
  • myHomework (Free) – Track homework, class schedules, projects, and tests.

Museums
A number of museums have created apps to help visitors learn more about their holdings, navigate the halls (or streets), and view virtual tours.

  • American Museum of Natural History (Free) – Explore New York’s American Museum of Natural History with an app that’s “part custom navigation system, part personal tour guide.”
  • Library of Congress  (Free) – This recently released app includes virtual tours, photos, and information about the Library of Congress.
  • Brooklyn Museum (Free) – Browse collections and learn more about the Brooklyn Museum.
  • Museum of London: Street Museum (Free) – This app helps you navigate the streets of London while you learn its history, incorporating images from the Museum of London.

Walking Tours
There are many walking tour apps available, so check before your next trip (no matter where you’re going). Here are a few, plus a chance to help with the creation of a new tour app (see last bullet).

  • Freedom Trail Walking Tour (Free) – Discover Boston’s Freedom Trail through this tour app, which takes users over 2.5 miles to 17 stops in approximately 2 or 3 hours. At each stop learn the history site as well as other information (admission cost, hours).
  • Rick Steves’ Historic Paris Walk ($2.99) – Tour Paris by hopping to different points of interest. This app presents the points on a neat looking map, then provides photos and more information on what you’re seeing.
  • Washington D.C. National Mall (East Mall) Walking Tour (99 cents)– Navigate the National Mall and make stops at the major museums. This app includes a map, list of museums, and more information.
  • Locacious (soon to be available) – This new app, which will allow “users to create, distribute, discover, and consume walking tours,” is still in the beta and testing stage. But you can help! Contact Donald Davis to test the app, or to contribute a walking tour.

Fun
Apps aren’t all serious business, many are games.  So here is one game with a history twist.

  • History Hangman (Free) – Sometimes you’re just looking for an app that’s fun. The History Hangman app let’s you play a traditional game of hangman, with a history twist.

Articles
Can’t get enough apps? Check out these articles on even more history apps.

Do you use these history apps? Do you use other history apps? Let us know your choices and experiences in the comments.

Update: See also our roundup of apps for Android phones.

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  1. Petulia Melideo

    Hello, you may want to consider our walking tours. We are a network of scholars and academics leading walking tours in the culture capitals of the world, from New York to Rome, to London and Istanbul. You can learn more about the walks on our site: http: //www.contexttravel.com

    Reply
  2. Cathryn Pearce

    Thanks for listing some great apps. But what about those of us who have an Android phone rather than an IPhone?

    Reply
  3. Elisabeth Grant, AHA Web Content Editor

    Hi Cathryn,
    Unfortunately Android doesn’t have the variety of history apps that the iPhone has right now. I was really only able to find one “This Day in History” app for Android. If you know of more Android history apps, please feel free to send me a message with information on then. I’d be happy to do a follow-up post on Android history apps if there are some available.

    Reply
  4. Joshua Akers

    Thank you for a replete list of Ipod/Iphone history applications. As a history major, I thoroughly enjoy reading many of the speeches uploaded onto these applications in their entirety. Furthermore, I’d like to recommend the free applications for Dictionary/Thesaurus.com which are invaluable aids when reading scholarly articles and/or novels with intense vocabulary.

    Reply