5 Cool, Free History Apps to Experience Your Ancestors’ Time

By Diane Haddad

Here are some a few cool history apps that’ll help you view your ancestor’s world.

  • Today In History from Downshift LLC provides headlines, quotes and images of important historical events from today’s date in history. It’s available for iPad and Android (A note if you go looking for it: I had to search on Downshift LLC to find it in the Android App Store).
  • Streetmuseum from the Museum of London lets you see the streets of your London ancestors. Select a destination from a London map or use your GPS to locate an image near you. Hold your camera up to the present day street scene and see the same London location, except years ago, on your screen. Information buttons give you historical facts. It’s available for iPad and Android.
  • Civil War Battle Apps from the Civil War Trust are GPS-enabled guides to 17 well-known Civil War battles. You can use them at the battlefield or from home. The battle maps show your location on the battlefield, and many have time-phased maps that show where Union and Confederate units were located at key moments. You also can see videos with experts and hear accounts from those who fought. These are available for iPad and Android.
  • Biblion: The Boundless Library from the New York Public Library draws on the library’s records, photos, ephemera and other archival collections to take you on a tour of the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. (A second edition of Biblion covers the writing of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.) Available for iPad.
  • History Here, a location-based app from the History Channel, lets you learn about thousands of historical places all over the United States. You can let your GPS set your location to learn about nearby historic sites, or choose any location in the app. Available for iPad and Android.

For other history app recommendations see the Best History Apps and 10 Best History Apps for iPhone and iPad.