Trowbridge named Whiting Public Engagement Fellow; foundation to provide $50,000 toward development of free heritage tourism app

Dr. David Trowbridge, an associate professor of history at Marshall University, has been selected for The Whiting Foundation’s Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship.

Trowbridge said the $50,000 fellowship will be used to further develop Clio, a free mobile application and website that connects the public with information about historical and cultural sites around the United States.

“I hope that Clio’s growth throughout West Virginia and beyond demonstrates the potential of technology created by university faculty at regional universities like Marshall,” Trowbridge said. “While Clio is free and non-commercial, it offers the potential for economic development—especially in a state such as ours that is working to promote tourism.”

Since Trowbridge created Clio in 2012, it has grown into a national resource with more than 20,000 users a month and 10,000 curated entries.

The Whiting Foundation supports faculty in the humanities who embrace public engagement as part of the scholarly vocation, according to Executive Director Daniel Reid.

“Dr. Trowbridge is the perfect example of what we’re looking for,” said Reid. “His project is one that is thoughtfully designed to reach the public with deep and meaningful content. The fact that he built this starting with his own personal time and funds is inspiring.”

Trowbridge said developers are working to expand Clio’s functionality to include features such as personalized itineraries that offer walking and driving tours.

“Until now, mobile apps offered walking tours that required people to start and stop at a preset location and follow a preset route. Thanks to the generosity of the Whiting Foundation and the talented team of developers at Strictly Business Computer Services, Clio will change that,” Trowbridge said. “Together with original content from hundreds of universities, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations, Clio will allow people to experience history as they enjoy a walk through any city in America.”

For more information about Clio, visit


Photo: Students use Clio to discover a suffrage parade that occurred in their city in 1917. Clio guides users to museums, historic sites and landmarks to support both education and heritage tourism. Entries can include audio recordings and videos, as well as links to related books, articles and websites.