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Find American Historical Sites with Clio

Summer is winding down, but you may still have a few U.S. travel plans. Do you ever travel to a new place and wonder what historical sites exist? Do you want to take a staycation to visit the historical sites where you live? Clio is one way to identify what historical sites are near you, wherever you are.


Clio is a free, US-based website. The website describes itself as an educational website and mobile application that guides the public to thousands of historical and cultural sites throughout the United States along with nature trails, art walking tours, and virtual tours of museums and sites. Built by scholars for public benefit, each entry includes a concise summary and useful information about a historical site, museum, monument, landmark, or other site of cultural or historical significance. In addition, "time capsule" entries allow users to learn about historical events around them. Each entry offers turn-by-turn directions and links to relevant books, articles, videos, primary sources, and credible websites.

Walking tour

I decided to search their Walking Tours and Heritage Trails. I searched on the state of California, and the result listed four tours. Now obviously, four tours is not comprehensive, but the information on Clio is crowdsourced and so people and intuitions are encouraged to add to the website. This means that Clio continually expands with historical institutions, cities, and individuals adding to the database.

Internment tour

One of the four tours I found was called Japanese American Internment Sites 1942-1946 . Because I just watched Linda Harms Okazaki's World War II "Internment Camps" and Mass Incarceration in the U.S. webinar I decided to take a look at this tour.


The tour starts in California but then goes to other states. It stops at museums, internment camps, and assembly centers. The tour includes present-day and historical photos, text, and maps. If you want to know more, scroll to the bottom of the web page to find sources, including books, articles, and videos.

As you read through the tour, you can plan your trip using the website, the mobile app, or by printing off a customized map.


This is one of those websites you need to explore to fully understand what it can offer. It can take you on a virtual trip even if you aren't traveling.

Black Archives
One of their featured tours was for the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City. This tour is a virtual, 360-degree tour of the museum. By clicking on the green circles, you can read the museum exhibits just as you would if you were visiting in-person. This is an excellent feature for those who can't travel, are planning a trip, or are teaching children history.

Clio is not the only website that allows you to find historical sites where you are or where you want to go. It's not even the only site that offers virtual tours (for worldwide options, see Google Arts and Culture), but it's a great place to explore where our ancestors lived and what may help us better understand their lives.


Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.



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