19th Century Attic Room Imagined

Wylie House Museum uses new accessibility technology to launch Elizabeth Breckenridge Exhibit

This text prepared by Candy Stripe Consulting, a student agency at the IU Kelley School of Business and part of the American Marketing Association (AMA) at Indiana University.

The Wylie House was built in 1835 by Andrew Wylie, the first president of Indiana University, and is now a historic house museum open to the public. It is located just off campus, near the original campus location.

A new feature to the Wylie House Museum as of summer 2022 is the Elizabeth Breckenridge Bedroom Exhibit. Elizabeth (Lizzie) lived and worked in the home as a domestic servant for more than 50 years. Lizzie was among the few Black residents of early Bloomington, and she was the daughter of Hannah McCaw—who is believed to have led efforts in the local Underground Railroad. Up until recently, the attic room believed to be Lizzie’s was inaccessible to guests for safety reasons. Now, Lizzie’s room can be experienced by accessing a remote virtual tour.

Wylie House’s extended virtual tour provides accessibility to those who are unable to physically visit the two-story home as well as individuals who benefit from audio guidance, keyboard navigation, or simpler visual displays. The museum is a test site for a new application created by Ava Technologies that provides enhanced interactive capability and screen-reading.

“Visitors to Wylie House are immersed in 19th century domestic history. The house has been beautifully restored and furnished with family artifacts and period decor,” said Carey Champion, director of Wylie House Museum. “Wylie House tells the stories of its original residents as well as the history of Bloomington, Indiana University, and mid-19th century United States.”

The Wylie House Museum is open to the public for free, walk-in tours Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Large group tours and IU class visits can be arranged outside of normal hours.

For more information on the Wylie House, visit libraries.indiana.edu/wylie-house-museum or call 812-855-6224 or email libwylie@indiana.edu.