Clio Database

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-1-2014


Public History, Art, Museums, Historic Landmarks, Technology


Named after the ancient Greek muse of history, Clio connects the public with the history and culture around them. Similar to locator ‘apps’ that help users find a nearby restaurant or repair shop, Clio picks up a user's location and guides them to landmarks, galleries, museums, and historic sites. Clio also acts as a virtual time machine, allowing a user to see images and videos and hear and read about historic events that happened near them. For example, Clio can guide users to the precise location of a sit-in with real time turn-by-turn directions. Clio also provides the user with a summary of the historic event as well as images and videos, allowing the user to hold their device against the modern landscape as if it were a window to the past. Each entry is vetted by a team of scholars and provide summaries and links to articles and books. Clio is not only a website and smartphone application, but also a collaborative research, interpretation, curation, and map-building project. Museum professionals, scholars, and their students contribute most of Clio’s content. Clio hold thousands of entries from scholars, local history experts, and museum professionals. Each day, this partnership of local history experts and professional historians is building a comprehensive, dynamic, and interactive map of American culture and history.