Winner of David Knights Innovation Award from Preservation New Jersey for Camden Kiosk

The David H. Knights New Preservation Initiatives Award Winner!

Over the last three years, the City of Camden’s Office of the Municipal Clerk has spearheaded the creation of a compelling and fun digital history attraction located in the elevator lobby of City Hall Camden. Measuring eight feet long and 42” high, the City of Camden Heritage Tourism Interactive Touchscreen Display Wall showcases the City of Camden and Camden County’s history attractions to more than 300,000 people who use City Hall each year.

The digital project contains a beautiful hand-drawn contemporary mural, created by local artist Donna Backues, that identifies 49 important people, places, and events across 350 years of the City of Camden’s history. Through a public participation process on Facebook, ten people, places, and events were added to the mural. Visitors interact with the mural by touching a person, event, or place on the screen, and a “popup” shows a historic photo/illustration and a short description.

In 2023, a Camden County base map was added to identify 51 Camden County historic sites and history organizations associated with the Camden County History Alliance. In anticipation of the upcoming 250th anniversary of the American Revolutionary War, 33 Camden County battle and skirmish sites were added to the touch wall. All of the history information found in the 133  “popups” are included on the City of Camden’s website history page Camden History The City of Camden and the Camden County History Alliance partner organizations are delighted to showcase their historic sites and history organizations through this innovative digital project.

All of the history content contained on the touch wall is included on the City of Camden’s website history page  The touch wall includes a button that displays a monthly roster of educational events and activities for adults and children presented by the CCHA organizations as an e-newsletter.

This project has four major goals:

The first goal is to create awareness for all 25 historic sites in the city and in Camden County open to the public. Visitors will be able to see all 25 of the county sites open to the public in one location and learn about them from the touch wall. The touch wall also tracks visitor usage, so that project designers can offer advice to all the sites and organizations each quarter about the most popular popups on the touch wall and on the City of Camden website.

The second goal is to increase online promotion of the historic sites open to visitors. This is one of the main recommendations of the award-winning Camden County Heritage Tourism Plan. All of the 51 CCHA partner organizations have websites (or a Facebook page), but they do not actively promote their historic sites online. One of the broader goals of the History Alliance is to promote all of these partner organizations, with the History Alliance dedicating four pages on the Camden County Historical Society website to them. History Alliance – Camden County Historical Society ( The landing page features a map showing all the History Alliance partner organizations, along with basic information about each (name, address, phone, and links to partner websites or Facebook pages).

The touch wall is one element of the Alliance’s a joint marketing effort, to encourage visitors to make a trip to the 25 historic sites open to the public. The history content on the touch wall appears on the history page of the City of Camden’s main website, which had 177,911 visitors in 2021, a large online audience. City of Camden officials note that 15,000 visitors use the City’s main webpage each month and close to 40% of users originate from outside the state of New Jersey – thus creating an excellent audience for these historic sites.

A third goal is to promote the ever-increasing monthly educational events and activities hosted by the 51 CCHA organizations on the heritage tourism touch wall and City of Camden website. Promoting these educational events will expand the audience for the 25 historic sites. By posting the monthly educational programming on the City’s website, these organizations will have a far larger audience than the 2,500 people who receive the monthly e-newsletter currently.\

Our final and fourth goal is to increase visitation to the 25 historic sites. Today, the 25 historic sites vary in size and visitation. Pre-COVID-19, the Battleship New Jersey hosted 100,000 yearly visitors (the most in the county). The Walt Whitman Home received up to 50,000 visitors annually, again pre-COVID 19. However, there are 12 historic sites open to the public that have less than 1,000 yearly visitors. The CCHA’s work to promote all of the historic sites has resulted in increased visitation primarily for the smallest sites especially during Camden County History Month in October. The promotion of these 25 historic sites through the touch wall and website will bring additional visitors in a post-COVID-19 environment.


This project is an important outgrowth of the Camden County Heritage Tourism Plan (2019). Microsoft Word - Final CCHA Heritage Tourism Plan report 3-15-19.docx (, a 2019 winner of the Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. The History Alliance has been promoting Camden history organizations for the last five years, through an annual joint marketing effort called Camden County History Month. Held each October, this event has grown significantly since it was first held in 2018 as History Week with 45 events.  This year 2023 History Month will have 75 events held at 30 different organizations History Month – Camden County Historical Society (


This digital history project was conceived by Patrice Bassett, the Records Manager and Archivist for the City of Camden who is project administrator for this project. She reports to and works closely with the City Clerk, Luis Pastoriza, and other elected officials in the City of Camden. The digital designers for the touch screen are Night Kitchen Interactive, a Philadelphia based firm, that designs engaging interactive installations and vibrant online experiences. This firm provided the hardware and created the software for the project. Donna Ann Harris of Heritage Consulting Inc., a Philadelphia based preservation consultant, wrote all the history content for the project, and wrote all the grants.  Donna Backues, the mural designer, is a local artist. Philip Green, a graphic designer, updated the Camden County History Alliance map for the touch wall, and created the rack cards and logo for the Camden County History Alliance.


The three-year project was funded in three phases: the first phase was a $50,000 (2020) grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust Historic Site Management Grant.  Additional phases of work were supported by two grants, one $50,000 (2019) and a second for $37,500 (2020) from the Camden County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.