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Keeping the 'Story' in History

The Nathan & Polly Johnson House

Storytelling in and of itself has been, and will always be, an important aspect in sharing history with future generations. And now, stories can be told from anywhere, by anyone, through technological advances and of course, the internet. Someone can learn the story of a historic castle half-way across the world while in their pajamas, relaxing in the comfort of their home. Technology makes our job as marketers easier too; the hardest part is deciding on the right story to tell.

A&T recently worked with the National Park Service (NPS) on a video project to chronicle the story of the Nathan and Polly Johnson House, located in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The goal of the project was to show the home’s historical importance as well as showcase the transformation and evolution of the home throughout the years.

How The Story Began

The story of Nathan and Polly Johnson started out as a story about a house, but it became much more than that. The A&T team traveled to Massachusetts, went to museums, read books and articles, took lots of photos and learned the history of the house and the people who lived there. We did our research.

The story we uncovered was about the owner of the home on 21 7th Street, Polly Johnson. She was a free black woman that helped fugitive slaves escape to freedom…Frederick Douglass was one of them… all while running a successful catering business out of her home. And when her husband decided to leave for more than 20 years (in search of riches during the Gold Rush), Polly was able to successfully pay off loans on their homes and keep her business thriving. The Nathan and Polly Johnson House is a historic symbol of New Bedford’s thriving free black community and entrepreneurial spirit. That was…is the real story.

How A&T Told This Story

So, how did we successfully tell this inspiring story? Through a combination of video and the use of a 3D technology called Matterport…we can immerse the viewer into history. We used old photos, new video footage, Matterport technology, and we also created 3D models to show what the home may have looked like back in 1838. Here is the final product: ; it truly is a great narrative.

Do you have a story to tell? We’d love to help you.

Written February 18, 2020 by

Maria Kelly

A human. Being.

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