New tourism videos

Submitted photo

Pictured, is the mural at the Grand Rapids Area Library. 

Visitors and locals alike can take advantage of new interactive tourism videos of the area through two new projects: the Grand Rapids Art and History Video Mapping project and the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway Video Mapping project. From an interactive map for self-guided tours of the region to dynamic videos of the area’s well-known and well-loved highlights, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Grand Rapids Art and History Video Mapping Project

Seven organizations came together to create the Grand Rapids Art and History Video Mapping project beginning in June 2019. These included Visit Grand Rapids as the lead coordinator, MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids Art and Culture Commission, Reif Arts Council, Blandin Foundation, Itasca County Historical Society, and Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. 

Funding for the project was supported by a Culture & Tourism grant through Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. The interactive video mapping project highlights 25 historic and 25 public art locations in and around Grand Rapids through video and mapping technologies. Viewers can either watch a video on the art and history highlights of the area, or visit the locations in person by following either an interactive map or Google Map with all the locations highlighted. The new interactive video map technology is trademarked by the Arrowhead Regional Development Corporation. 

Megan Christianson, executive director of Visit Grand Rapids, said it was a pleasure acting as the lead coordinator of the Grand Rapids Art and History Mapping project. 

“I was able to work one on one with several art and history organizations and area attractions to ensure we were capturing all of the historic and cultural narrative for each of the site locations,” said Christianson. “Several of us have been talking about a project like this to help market and promote the wonderful public art and historic sites we have here in Grand Rapids. These newly creative free interactive maps and videos help locals and visitors to get out and enjoy them by following the interactive maps.”

The map highlights safe walking and biking routes created by Get Fit Itasca. Printed versions of the map will also be available at the Get Fit Itasca kiosks located around downtown Grand Rapids. 

“I hope that the announcement of these new assets will encourage locals and visitors to take a outdoor public art and history tour, and to go to our historic and art attractions like the Forest History Center, Itasca County Historical Society, Judy Garland Museum, MacRostie Art Center and Reif Center,” Christianson added. 

With the project, Christianson hopes visitors and locals alike will take note of all the area has to offer. Christianson also hopes anyone who enjoys the Grand Rapids area can appreciate the resources and amenities the community offers.

“Sometimes I think we take for granted what we have,” Christianson noted. “This new interactive map showcases the locations of each, several images of each location, and narrative of that location. This map is also linked to Google maps so people can get walking or driving directions through their mobile phone. Very user friendly to optimize on the go travel. Us as locals need to be aware of what we have and support our local art and history sites; their year-round funding depends on our support.”

Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway Video Mapping project

Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center was the lead coordinator of the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway Video Mapping project, with Visit Grand Rapids as a funder and partner in the project. Tim Johnson led the project. Johnson hopes the mapping and video project will attract visitors to the area.

“The Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway also wanted to provide people with an opportunity to visit the Byway and to gather more in-depth information on the Byway remotely,” Johnson added. “The digital map and the associated information, videos, and photos provide a way to explore the Byway on smartphones, tablets, computers, and other devices.  The interactive nature and quality of the information offers a unique virtual view of the Byway.”

The project created videos featuring the Scenic Byway, Marcell, Bigfork and Effie. 

“We hope people gain additional knowledge about the Byway and its intrinsic qualities so that they have a better understanding of what makes it special and a nationally designated route,” said Johnson. 

To view the various interactive maps and videos, visit the following websites listed below. 


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