(MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ) -- Beginning May 15, 2021, Middlesex County Division of Historic Site & History Services in partnership with QuestUpon, the award-winning augmented reality company, will launch a Uncovering Raritan Landing augmented reality history tour in celebration of History Day. Middlesex County will be one of New Jersey’s first to integrate this leading-edge technology to create an original COVID-19 friendly walking tour for people to experience the history and stories of the forgotten Village at Raritan Landing.
Raritan Landing, once a bustling port on the Raritan River in Middlesex County, NJ, had all but disappeared from the landscape until artifacts and building structures were found lurking below Piscataway’s Johnson Park about 30 years ago. Now, using the QuestUpon augmented reality app on a mobile phone, visitors can stand in the center of the village and see what it looked like 200 years ago. And as visitors walk through the park, they’ll encounter stories about the people who lived in the village, discover artifacts that helped to tell those stories, and even take a photo with George Washington on horseback.
“History meets innovation in this first-ever augmented reality tour through New Jersey’s rich – and in this case, hidden – past. As augmented reality and other multimedia experiences become more prevalent and popular, Middlesex County is excited to partner with QuestUpon to bring this transformative storytelling experience to County residents and visitors,” said Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners Director Ronald G. Rios. “Raritan Village's history as a center for trade and technology – and as a destination for people seeking a better life – mirrors modern day New Jersey. This immersive tour brings that history to life in ways that are both educational and engaging. Whether you're a history buff or simply looking for a new local adventure, step back through time and take advantage of this self-guided tour. By using the QuestUpon app and your mobile phone, you'll have your own personal docent at your side every step of the way.”
This self-guided tour utilizes location-based augmented reality to deliver an immersive experience via a mobile phone. To take part in this compelling mix of family fun and education, all while taking a relaxing walk through Johnson Park, simply download the QuestUpon app on an iPhone or Android device and play the Raritan Village quest any time or day starting May 15 where East Jersey Old Town Village meets Johnson Park in Piscataway.
In addition to the Raritan Landing Quest, a permanent exhibit has been mounted at East Jersey Old Town about the community along with artifacts that have been recovered.
In addition to this augmented reality tour, the Arts Institute of Middlesex County is presenting, promoting, and supporting a multitude of arts and culture events, exhibitions, and shows throughout the month of May, primarily centered around History Month.
Middlesex County is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, three universities, 18 park systems, and world-class healthcare and research facilities making it one of the nation’s most dynamic regions and a leader in technology, transportation, the arts, and food innovation. As one of the most diverse populations in the country, Middlesex County is home to over 832,000 residents living throughout 25 municipalities and employing nearly 40,000 people. Ranked #1 in the state for best schools, the County offers an award-winning vocational school system, a county college, and workforce development creating a unique ecosystem in which opportunities abound. Conveniently located between New York and Philadelphia, Middlesex County is a leading destination for businesses and residents alike to live, work, and play – and has been since the 17th century.
Raritan Landing was once a bustling port on the Raritan River, but has all but disappeared from the landscape. The community was dense with businesses and rich with a variety of trades and skills. Here imports arrived from Europe and the Caribbean, while goods and produce of New Jersey were loaded on ships for export. The community was impacted during the Revolutionary War and survived into the early nineteenth century when trade shifted to New Brunswick. With its economy removed the community slowly died out.
Remnants of the community today lie buried in Johnson Park and since the 1970s a number of major archaeological excavations have uncovered hundreds of thousands of artifacts and building foundations which have helped to tell the story of the community. The site is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
QuestUpon is an award-winning company founded in 2011. They developed a network and platform for mobile devices that specializes in location-based experiences for enhanced wayfinding and storytelling. With a customized approach to encourage exploration in the real world, QuestUpon uses a wide variety of features such as augmented reality, geocaching, trivia, leaderboards, gamification, unique photo opportunities, mini-games, and more.