About the GWB-PLARP:

The George W. Bush–Presidential Library Augmented Reality Project (GWB-PLARP) was created by Ellen Chenoweth.  Currently living in Philadelphia, PA, Ellen was born, raised, and educated in Texas, where she received a degree in history from Rice University and a degree in dance from Texas Woman’s University.  The digital installation is available from May 12, 2016 to April 28, 2017.

Although not a professional historian, Ellen was disturbed by the version of American history from 2000 to 2008 that was presented at the Bush Presidential Library, which is partially funded with public money.  How could you talk about the Iraq War without mentioning the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib?  The PATRIOT Act without any mention of the national debate over safety vs. civil liberties?  And how could you discuss both terms of the Bush presidency while hardly mentioning Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the most powerful vice presidents in American history?

This project is an attempt to provide visitors with additional information, and to insert some relevant images, video, and text into the narrative presented by the museum.  The intent is not to tear George W. Bush down, but to provide a more complex view of the administration’s policies and the Bush legacy than that provided in the official space of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

What you need:

a charged smartphone or tablet

the free Layar app, downloaded onto your device (download the free app here)

a printed copy of the directions for accessing GWB-PLARP (recommended)

headphones (recommended)

How to find the GWB-PLARP:

There are 10 trigger images located throughout the permanent exhibit portion of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

Open the Layar app on your device, and point the camera lens of the device at each trigger image.  The augmented reality content will appear, a little bit like magic.  Try to get the image on your device to match associated trigger image as closely as possible.  If the content does not appear, try moving your device a little to the left, to the right, or slightly closer or farther from the trigger image.

At each trigger image location, multiple images will appear with additional content related to the topic at the site.  The GWB-PLARP created content will always appear in the lower right-hand corner of the augmented reality that appears.  The other media links go to external sites with additional articles and videos.

Thanks to the ubiquity of digital devices, GWB-PLARP users are hard to distinguish from other museum visitors.

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Grateful acknowledgements:

Thank you so much to the following people who helped make this project possible.

Supporters: Anonymous, Steve, Lillian & Ben Chenoweth, David Mallette, Juliana Mascelli, Susan McIntyre, David Rich, Deborah Scott (sponsoring Bush and the environment content), Steven Skerritt-Davis, Amy Smith, Andy Stone & Gene Bishop, and Jessica Yu (sponsoring the PATRIOT Act content).

Editor: Carolyn Merritt

Thanks are also due to everyone who was a part of the 2015 Biocode conference, and to Adam Weinert who got me interested in the possibilities of augmented reality with his project at the Museum of Modern Art.  I recommend Anthony Clark’s book The Last Campaign to anyone interested in learning more about our presidential library system.