Our Stories CLT App to Launch with Event at Elmwood Pinewood Cemetery

Published on April 14, 2023

Elmwood cemetery

The City of Charlotte, in collaboration with Potions & Pixels, Gökotta, the Knight Foundation and Google Fiber, is launching a new interactive augmented reality app this weekend. Our Stories CLT, is a new augmented reality mystery game designed by high school students where users solve mysteries behind Charlotte’s largest public cemetery.

On Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the historic Elmwood/Pinewood Cemetery, the public is invited to join the students of The Charlotte AR Experience camp as they share the mobile app they created. The Our Stories CLT app augmented reality experience leads users through the historic cemetery by showing them hidden documents that illuminate stories of Charlotte’s past while honoring residents who contributed to the community. Representatives from Potions & Pixels, Gökotta, the Knight Foundation and Google Fiber who helped guide the students through making the app will also be present to answer questions about the nearly three-year process.

In response to community feedback, the city in 2019 started to build cohesive elements that focused on community storytelling through digital resources for the Urban Arboretum Trail located on surface streets near I-77 and the Brookshire Freeway. A prototype of the app was completed during the summer of 2021 as students toured sites throughout Charlotte to test the augmented reality features.

At the Elmwood/Pinewood cemetery, which was once segregated, students were shocked to learn that “empty” sections of the cemetery were areas where thousands of African Americans were buried without headstones. Inspired to right this wrong, students conducted research to help tell the stories of those individuals once forgotten, unknown or overlooked.

“At the summer camps, parents shared with us how impactful this camp was not just for their teens, but also for them,” said Rachel Stark, program manager for the city’s Smart Cities program. “From learning their own community’s history, to connecting to new career paths, to being part of shaping something that would be built for others to appreciate, parents were giving this experience an A-plus.”

All cars should enter the cemetery at 700 W. Sixth St. and follow traffic instructions. Pedestrians and cyclists may use the Ninth Street entrance then visit the tent at this entrance to enjoy the app experience.

Use the QR code below to download the app.

Elmwood cemetery QR code