Forum Connect

Going Digital in this COVID Climate

  • 1.  Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 03-26-2020 16:31
    Hello All!

    My name is Rin Kasckow and I'm the Executive Director for the Alliance for Historic Wyoming!
    A few of you might have received a call from me, saying hi and let's chat. Because I have hit a wall and I realized there is a whole community of preservationist also going through the same thing.

    Due to the COVID pandemic, we have had to cancel our biggest event of the year which was a month long celebration of Historic Preservation Month. The main idea of the event was that CLG or Mainstreets would nominate a business that is located in a historic building, pick a day in May, and host an event on that day. We would help with marketing, design, and organizing. But since we have decided that we want to keep people safe and have moved to cancel all in person events. But! we don't want to stop celebrating historic preservation month, so we are trying to take things digitally. And I would love any ideas or thoughts about how we could do it. At the moment what I have is:
    • hosting a live presentation on a historic building
    • a bingo/scavenger hunt in a local community with a possible incentive from the main nominated business. 
    • posting communities walking tours online 
    • Hosting a live tour of a historic building (Thank you Chantry form Preservation Oklahoma Inc) 

    And on top of that (because I cannot be stopped, even by myself) I really want to push with this change into digital how people can still support local businesses during this time. I was thinking posting local community challenges if they are doing something like that or if you can find local businesses products online. So if you have any thoughts on how I could promote local business too while promoting historic preservation, I'd love them.

    AND! if you want to chat with me one on one, which I would very happy about, please email me at or please feel free to call me at 307-343-2631.

    Thank you for any and all help!

    Rin Kasckow

  • 2.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 03-27-2020 14:24
    I'm the county archaeologist and historic preservation planner for Calvert County in Southern Maryland. The county government is convening all public meetings using Zoom. That includes our Historic District Commission meeting coming up in a couple of weeks. It can meet the standard of the open meetings act, and allows for participation of members and the public from the safety of their own homes.

    Stay safe and healthy!

    Kirsti Uunila, RPA
    Prince Frederick MD

    Kirsti Uunila
    Hist Pres Planner III
    Prince Frederick MD

  • 3.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 03-27-2020 15:19
    Hi Katherine,

    Thanks for starting the conversation. If it was ever time to evolve it's now!!

    We too were excitedly planning our annual historic home tour. I was extremely excited about the Tudor Revival theme (from cottage to mansion!) It's our biggest fundraiser and this may disrupt our fall preservation party fundraiser event too!

    • We replaced our speaker series event with 3 virtual live facebook talks; partnered with another local organization; we are doing this through Zoom. You'll have to purchase a plan to get the "webinar" add-on to go live on either Facebook, Youtube or Workplace
    • Considering having homeowners create a video tour of their home...still working on this idea
    • Currently working on other engaging ideas like preservation bingo interactive social media activity

    I'd love to know what other folks are doing and brainstorm ways to maintain finances.

    April Johnson
    Forum Member
    Executive Director
    Preservation Durham
    Durham, NC

  • 4.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 03-31-2020 14:33
    My organization, Restore Oregon, also has had to cancel a major fund raiser - our annual Mid-Century Modern home tour and lecture.  We're working on producing a virtual tour (its not that hard to convert the lecture into a webinar), but the best we've come up with so far is to publish our tour booklet with info on the architects and each home, plus see if we can do a 360-degree video tour of at least one of the homes.  This would resemble what some realtors use... but it doesn't appear possible to narrate or caption it.

    Does anyone else have better ideas/video/virtual resources to recommend?

    Forum Member Restore Oregon
    Executive Director
    Restore Oregon
    Portland OR
    503 946-6446

  • 5.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 04-01-2020 12:33
    We created this "Tour of Homes" booklet for Preservation Month last year: There's a button to download the entire booklet on that page.

    We followed it up with a webinar/virtual tour of a Federal Home with one of our customers: If you can get a better camera into the home, and include a Q & A session that brings a higher value to the viewers and makes it much more engaging. Consider FB live event or YouTube, not just a virtual self-lead tour.

    Good luck!

    Kathryn Foster
    Portland OR

  • 6.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 04-01-2020 16:53

    We are using Zoom to produce presentations for our Historic Preservation month. I had already decided to use this format rather than scheduling in person presentations because I wanted to make our information available statewide since we are a statewide organization. We are in Alaska.

    I'm asking that each presenter provide a PowerPoint presentation and then we can use that with Zoom. I actually have one person who recorded the PowerPoint presentation because by the time this happens, they will be back home in McCarthy and Internet is not that great where they live. I just need to incorporate that into Zoom along with their short video. I plan to record the presentations and then upload it to our website with a link from our Facebook page.

    I had planned for other events that I am reconsidering rescheduling to later this summer because I am concerned that we are under a strict mandate to stay home. The scavenger hunt and This Place Matters selfie would require people to leave home and I think it might not be a good thing unless we are no longer under a mandate to stay home.

    I would think that one of your local Realtors would be happy to assist you in what you are doing with the house tour. They have programs that can provide vertual tours which includes a narrative and even music if you want to go that far. They should be able to help you produce that and provide it on a DVD or thumb drive that you could upload to your website or whatever platform you are going to use. There may be some costs involved. I'm not sure if they pay for that program per video or annually. Perhaps you could trade the video with giving them credit for the video?

    I have used ISSUU to produce newsletters that you can flip from page to page like a magazine. You might check that out. It can be used on computers, cell phones, etc.  I think you would have to pay for the premium content to get what you want but it might be something for the future.

    Good luck!

    Trish Neal
    Anchorage AK

  • 7.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 04-02-2020 06:57
    Please do some research about the privacy issues and vulnerability of Zoom.  There have been several articles in the last few days about Zoom in respectable publications.  I removed Zoom from my personal workstation and will now only use it on my employer's laptop within my employer's network and with sessions of other employees.

    When you encourage others to download  and run binary files you must be aware of the consequences.  I was recommending Zoom to everyone until yesterday.  Alas, Zoom offers a miracle, but there are risks.

  • 8.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 04-02-2020 15:00
    As with any software or platform you do need to be careful. I have been using Zoom for about three years. Zoom has made some changes to beef up protection for its users. You still need to be aware of the potential for hacks, the gate crasher, etc.

    I do not allow participants to join before I log on to the Zoom. There is a password that can be sent to participants to use to log on or call in. I don't post the link publicly. It is provided in a closed Facebook group and emailed to specific people. I have guest presenters which allows me to be in control of Zoom behind the scenes. I use my cell phone as "co-host" so that I can see who attends and who leaves. I can also mute audio and stop video or record all from my cell phone.

    By the way, I use this for our board meetings since we have board members in other parts of the state. I have an account for transcribing minutes. (it's free)  I have integrated that with Zoom so that at the end of the meeting Zoom converts the meeting to Otter and I receive a transcription of the entire meeting via Otter. It requires some tweaking but it has saved a lot of time and provides for more accurate minutes.

    Trish Neal
    Alaska Association for Historic Preservation
    Anchorage AK

  • 9.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 04-03-2020 09:58

    Indeed. We went to Jitsi on and that is an open source system that works pretty cleanly. 

    Aaron Marcavitch 

    Aaron Marcavitch
    Maryland Milestones/ATHA Inc.
    Hyattsville MD

  • 10.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 04-03-2020 10:25
    Coincidentally, I tried Jitsi last night and it piqued my curiosity.  In addition to being open source (but I have not verified that all the components are open source, e.g. the java jar of Jitsi video something -- but I believe it will be), you can run your own server thereby removing any third party where the economic temptation is to monetize the information flowing through.  I'm a software developer by profession and have servers at home where I think I'll install the Jitsi server and play with it some more.  The problem I encounter is making time to do this.

    John L. Poole


  • 11.  RE: Going Digital in this COVID Climate

    Posted 04-01-2020 19:16
    Hi @Forum Member Restore Oregon - Do you have a 360 camera? If so, it looks like Kuula offers audio layering. I've never used it, but this guy says it's great for a free beginner program.

    I have a colleague who makes VR videos like this one. He'd be glad to hop on a Zoom call and give you some tips (no sales pitch, promise!). Let me know if you're interested.


    Cindy Olnick
    Los Angeles, CA