Battle of Rhode Island Association Awarded $150,000 Grant from RI Commerce

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RI Commerce recently announced their grant recipients of federal funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). BoRIA is pleased to announce that it was awarded $150,000 to support a state-wide, multimedia, “digital map” learning experience on highlighting Rhode Island’s significant role in the American Revolution. BoRIA will be working closely with North Kingstown-based technology company, Fresh, LLC, to create a “FreshMaps” educational experience for everyone.

Last year, FreshMaps worked with BoRIA’s web partner at Smith’s Castle in North Kingstown to develop an educational trivia map on their historic property. Click here to visit Smith’s Castle FreshMaps site. BoRIA is excited to first bring this same innovative technology to Aquidneck Island to highlight different locations and experiences of the Battle of Rhode Island, which took place on August 29th, 1778. This project also expands our reach to bring awareness to other historic society partners around the state, enabling the stories of many Revolutionary Rhode Islanders.

BoRIA Director Joe Studlick remarked “Documenting and sharing RI’s Revolutionary War history is our primary objective and this new smart-phone enabled learning will appeal to kids, especially middle school and high school aged students.” FreshMaps develops experiences using a GPS-driven mobile app to direct the participant to various locations on a map, and prompts photos and videos to teach a lesson, then provides puzzles, trivia questions and other fun challenges, allowing points to be earned, making learning fun and engaging for all ages. Events will be planned monthly, as each FreshMap experience is launched, with Newport, Portsmouth and Middletown happening first over the summer, then others planned for the fall and winter, including East Greenwich, Kingston, Providence, Warwick, and Coventry.

Michelle Girasole, founder of Fresh LLC, who championed our cause and helped us get the grant, stated, “It is an honor to be working with the BoRIA on this exciting project. Many people around the state know of events like the burning of the Gaspee, but when American Revolution history is taught, the main focus is about events that happened out of state – Boston, Philadelphia, and the South. So much happened right here in Rhode Island and we are excited to use this technology to make these stories come alive. Participants will be standing in the place where a skirmish happened, or where a General lived, and learning about why that matters. It is important to us to mix traditional stories of the military action from well-known historical figures like Major General Nathanael Greene and the Marquis de Lafayette, with lesser known stories of courage and contributions from women and people of color. We will be working closely with historical consultants throughout the state to accurately document and tell these stories.”

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