RunawayTrain Productions helps guests experience a piece of American history.

Homestead National Monument

Homestead National Monument

Homestead National Monument brings the epic homestead story of the American pioneer to life and demonstrates the true scope and importance of the Homestead Act of 1862 which allowed nearly any man or woman a chance to live the American dream of owning their own land.
RunawayTrain Productions in a partnership with CEAVCO Audio Visual in Denver, Colorado has been asked by the National Park Service to create an assistive listening guided tour for the Homestead National Monument in Homestead, Nebraska.

For several years, The National Park Service has been upgrading all the audio visual exhibits in the parks to enrich the visitor experience for guests with disabilities. Assistive listening systems are being installed to amplify program audio for the hearing impaired and most recently, audio description audio tracks are being added to the presentations themselves to enrich the experience for the site impaired. For almost a year, RunawayTrain Productions has been working with CEAVCO Audio Visual, the audio visual integrator, to add these audio options and convert the existing media to solid state digital playback systems.

When the National Park Service began renovating Homestead National Monument they realized that no such audio description tracks existed, so they called on RunawayTrain Productions to create one. “It sounds simple but it definitely comes with challenges” says Natisha Walton, Executive Producer and head writer on the project, “Writing for film and television focuses so much on complimenting the existing visual image. In audio description, you really have to imagine being visually impaired and maximizing your language to enrich the exhibit experience”.

The CEAVCO selected the Sennheiser GuidePort system which allows each guest wearing a receiver unit to hear a visual description based on a proximity trigger specific to the exhibit. Should the guest want to hear more detail, they may navigate to more content using buttons on the hand held receiver unit.

“It’s a great system, but it required us to flow chart the content in a much more interactive manner” says Walton. “Each of the exhibits became a bit of a jigsaw puzzle in how we designed the content flow. This project may have taken more time to produce than a conventional script, but the Park Service has been great, the content is fascinating, and at the end of the day, we feel like we may have helped someone less fortunate learn more about American History.

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