In partnership with the Historic Stranahan House Museum, members of the Leadership Broward Class XXXVII Project Team Access History have created an internal application to make Stranahan House, the oldest surviving structure in Broward County and birthplace of Fort Lauderdale, more accessible to individuals living with disabilities.
“This has been a very rewarding project that has introduced us to emerging community leaders, new corporate and community partners, and experts in the field,” said Historic Stranahan House Museum Executive Director April Kirk. “We are beyond thrilled to utilize the app and teach our team how to incorporate it in our tours and educational programs.”
Following more than six months of app development, beta testing and multiple focus groups conducted with adults living with disabilities at the Center for Independent Living of Broward, Stranahan House and the Leadership Broward Class XXXVII Project Team Access History launched the app on May 31.
In response to the structure of Stranahan House, which was built in 1901 and poses challenges to those with limited mobility, the app offers a comprehensive virtual tour of the historic site and provides corresponding information about the history of Fort Lauderdale and the Stranahans. Guests who are unable to physically visit the first or second floor of the House will be provided with an iPad with access to the app, which will enable them to go into any room of the House in any order they desire. The app also offers closed captioning on the virtual tour for those with hearing limitations and the transcript of the tour is available in multiple languages.
“It is our belief that people with limited mobility, sight and hearing and those living with learning or developmental disabilities should be able to enjoy all cultural, educational and community programs offered by the Museum, which is open every day of the year and serves approximately 30,000 visitors annually,” Kirk added. “The goal of this project is to create accessibility, which in turn provides inclusivity for all guests of the Historic Stranahan House Museum.”
Members of the Leadership Broward Class XXXVII Access History Project Team include Diana Arteaga of Broward Health, Stephen Fuller of Deberi Group, LLC, Corey Hinds of the Center for Independent Living of Broward, LaurieAnne Minoff of Keller Williams, Jenna Scolaro of Brunt Sweeney Matz P.A., CPAs, Henny Shomar of Tripp Scott and Travis Walker of Greenberg Traurig.
Vital support for the app’s creation and development was provided by videographer and editor Amanda Burns, who shot and formatted immersive 3D footage of the House for app integration, and co-founder and CEO Deborah Bennett of the Deberi Group, a member-based group of angel investors comprised of successful entrepreneurs and business executives who invest in women- and minority-owned high-tech startups that positively impact the lives of people through the use of digital technologies.
“I am so appreciative of my co-founders, Deborah and Erica Bennett,” said Deberi Group co-founder and Access History Vice Chair Stephen Fuller. “When I asked for their suggestions for this project, they immediately offered the firm’s expertise to create, design and develop the infrastructure of the app and integrate it with a virtual tour of the Stranahan House.”
Services rendered by Deberi Group for the app’s development are valued at more than $50,000.
“We are beyond grateful for the support we’ve received from our community partners in this endeavor,” said Access History project leader Jenna Scolaro. “The videography and editing services alone would typically cost around $10,000. We are so lucky to have found such amazing people to donate their time and talent!”
Additional community support for the creation of the app and the launch party was provided by South Florida PBS, Greenberg Traurig, Tripp Scott and the Center for Independent Living. Expertise of Stranahan House and its history was provided by Historic Stranahan House Museum Education Programs Manager Jonathan Axler, Guests Services Manager Merry Wajda and Collections Manager Deb Wood.
“I’m incredibly proud to be part of the team and community that made this app possible,” added Fuller. “Not only is this project a huge step forward for Stranahan House, but the creation and implementation of this app lays the foundation for other arts and cultural organizations to enhance their accessibility too.”
The app is currently available for use by groups and individuals with special needs. It will be fully integrated into all Stranahan House tours by October of this year.
“This app will undoubtedly help us fulfill our mission at the Stranahan House by allowing us to bring the history of Fort Lauderdale and legacy of the Stranahans to individuals who face accessibility challenges due to chronic illness or disability,” Kirk added. “With technology and the ingenuity of Leadership Broward Class XXXVII, we’re broadening our reach, expanding our program offerings and sharing the House with a new audience. It’s incredibly exciting to say the least.”
About Historic Stranahan House and Museum
The Stranahan House was built in 1901, when Broward County was no more than a bleak southern frontier supposedly unsuited for human habitation. The existing residents were the Seminoles who traveled down the New River to Frank Stranahan’s trading post to do business. Over the years as Fort Lauderdale grew and developed, the house became a post office, boarding house, restaurant and home to the “Founding Father” and “First Lady” of Fort Lauderdale – Frank and Ivy Stranahan. Today it stands as the oldest house in Fort Lauderdale and an epicenter of Broward County’s long and fascinating history. For more information about the Historic Stranahan House Museum, visit www.stranahanhouse.org.