“Frontier Quest,” the FFNHA smartphone app’s newest interactive tour, highlights 29 sites within Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area along the Missouri-Kansas border.
The tour, designed with middle- and high-school students in mind, integrates social media — a first for the FFNHA app.
Users design their quest within the app, mapping their route to ten sites along the border. As they approach each stop, users receive a pop-up notification that awards them a digital passport stamp alongside a link to Instagram, where they are encouraged to post a photo and a short description of the site’s significance to local history. After collecting 10 stamps, users end their quest at Fort Scott National Historic Site (FSHS), where they can receive a real-life National Park Service Junior Ranger Badge.
Created by Carl Brenner, Program Manager of Interpretation and Resource Management at FSHS, the tour centers the restored fort as a crucial piece of the region’s history, exploring the site’s role in westward expansion, Bleeding Kansas, and the Civil War. Depending on the chosen route, quest participants can also learn about President Harry S Truman’s humble beginnings in Barton County or visit a Trading Post Museum to view artifacts such as Indian flint, clothing, early weapons, bullets from the Civil War, and early pioneer household goods.
Brenner and FFNHA staff designed the open-ended tour so that users were free to chart their own course, making connections between each site along the way. “I believe the best way to preserve history is to tell a story.”
He also encourages users to have fun. “These historic sites link you straight to social media where you can share your experience with others.” He noted the shops and restaurants lining Fort Scott’s historic downtown.
Ultimately, Brenner hopes travelers gain a deeper understanding of the complex stories Freedom’s Frontier has to offer. “This is the telling of American history, and it helps us to understand where we have come from and hopefully know where we are going.”
“Frontier Quest” is FFNHA’s 15th interactive tour to date. Other tours available on the app include the “Lewis & Clark Trail,” the “Santa Fe Trail Landmark Tour,” and the “International Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Tour.” Download the app from the App Store or Google Play today or visit ffnha.oncell.com on any web browser.
For more information about “Frontier Quest” or FFNHA app tours, please contact:
Director of Communications and Projects
Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area