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Storytelling App Vamonde Launches in Chicago, Debuts Old Town Story

By Mina Bloom | December 2, 2015 6:02am | Updated on December 2, 2015 10:10am
 A storytelling app, Vamonde, recently launched in Chicago.
A storytelling app, Vamonde, recently launched in Chicago.
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OLD TOWN — Interested in learning more about Edgar Miller-designed homes? Or the history behind murals from the '60s and '70s? 

Download the new storytelling app Vamonde and browse its selection of "adventures," or mixed-media stories about the city.

The platform launched in Chicago in November, with the goal of "bring[ing] hidden narratives to life," and becoming "the Instagram of places," spokeswoman Kelsey Mazeski said.

"Vamonde allows you to follow in the footsteps of local experts to discover the stories and secrets behind the places you visit every day," Mazeski said.

Since the startup's debut, it has partnered with a number of prominent Chicago institutions, including the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Transit Authority and Broadway in Chicago, among others, to produce stories. And it's currently working with more institutions like Chicago Shakespeare Theater and luxury hotel the Waldorf Astoria on upcoming stories.

One story, in particular, might appeal to those who live or work in Old Town. It's called "Quintessential Old Town," and it tells the story of the North Side neighborhood and its many historical quirks. It's free for anyone with a smartphone who downloads the app.

Some of the adventures are more focused on local experts, like one called, "Humboldt Park Adventures," which follows Anne Halliday on a walk through the park, and then into a flower shop, bar and pie shop. 

So far, the app has 500 users and 1,500 adventures have been downloaded, according to Anijo Mathew, the app's founder and an Illinois Institute of Technology professor.

Mathew is aiming to roll out a functionality to let "key contributors" create their own stories by December, and extend it to the public by early next year.

"The ultimate goal is that everybody wants to tell a story about a place" in the city, he said.

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