To commemorate the LGBTQ rights movement in New York City, Google has created a digital monument for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
On Tuesday, Google—along with The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center and the National Park Service—unveiled an interactive augmented-reality experience. The AR experience and accompanying website tell the story of the 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a popular West Village gay bar that’s now a National Historic Landmark honoring the city’s LGBTQ rights movement.
The AR experience is at Christopher Park in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, which has a sculpture commemorating the neighborhood’s historic involvement in the LGBTQ rights movement. When visitors download the Stonewall Forever app and scan their surroundings with smartphone cameras, hundreds of rainbow-colored particles digitally appear—each leading to digitized archival materials from the movement’s early years. The footage includes unseen photos along with video and audio from LGBTQ movement leaders recounting their experiences.
“Creating Stonewall Forever with support from Google presented the rare opportunity to broaden the story of the Stonewall Riots and provide a richer, more diverse narrative about one of the most influential events in the fight for LGBTQ equality,” Glennda Testone, executive director of The Center, said in a statement. “We were proud to serve as the conduit to the community to bring a wide variety of voices to the narrative, particularly from people of color, young people and the trans community, and are honored to be part of preserving LGBTQ history.”
The digital monument was created with the help of a $1.5 million grant by Google to The Center and was built by Google employees and Stink Studios. The project—which debuted alongside a short documentary—is also available for viewing via desktop.
“We are honored to support The Center in their effort to preserve stories of Stonewall for the next generations,” William Floyd, director of external affairs at Google, said in a statement. “By using technology, we are able to expand the scale and reach of the Stonewall National Monument so that it’s a shared, interactive experience, bringing past and present together in a completely new way. The fight for LGBTQ rights is an ongoing one and Stonewall Forever seeks to tell that story.”