SmartTours News:

The LATEST News:

Checklist Recognition
Posted: July 17, 2024

The ultimate SmartTours challenge is to visit and read the narratives from all 15 SmartTours tours and its 177 sites. Hopefully you have your own printed copy of the Tours Checklist and are checking sites as you visit them. As a special gift, a collectible Certificate of Completion is available when the entire Checklist has been completed and submitted to either City Hall or sent to

However, the SmartTours Group has decided to also give recognition to those who are on their way to completion. Have some fun and add your name to the list of individuals or families who have completed at least 5 tours, or the group that has completed 10 tours, as well as those who have completed all 15 tours. Find them by clicking Checklist Groups and join the club.

For convenience, download the SmartTours Checklist here.

Posted: July 17, 2024

Joann Green leads members of her Walking Group on both the Old Fourth Ward and the Division Street Tours. She reads narrative printouts from the SmartTours web site.

Posted: July 16, 2024

In a planning meeting, the SmartTours Group made some key decisions on the future of the project:
- Tom Stulberg will become the Project Chair, replacing Norm Tyler, who will be recognized as Chair Emeritus.
- A tabulation from AADL indicated there have been over 4,800 visits to the web's SmartTours Main Page.
- CTN has agreed to show the SmartTours video as part of its TV networking.
- The Group decided individuals and families could receive recognition for partial completion of the ST Checklist--at levels of 5 tours, 10 tours, and finally all 15 tours.
- Further efforts will be made to incorporate SmartTours in the Ann Arbor Public Schools curriculum as part of the Local History Module.
- A financial report indicated there have been additional donations for SmartTours.

Shown in photo: Susan Wineberg, Christine Crockett, Jeff Crockett, Tom Stulberg, Paul Fagan, Carol Mull, Paul Conway, Norm Tyler, (not shown) Ilene Tyler.

SmartTours Video

Posted: June 30, 2024

Okay! SmartTours now has a 2-minute promotional video. We had an interesting experience working closely with Paul Fagan of Fagan Productions on the script and shooting. The 2-minute video is going Hollywood and is being shown before movies at the Michigan and State Theaters, thanks to the cooperation of Russ Collins and his staff. If you happened to go to SummerFest for one of the evening movies you might have seen it there as well.
We will continue to promote SmartTours by showing it on CTN, YouTube, social media, and for future presentations.
You can view it now on YouTube

The BIG Celebration

Posted: May 26, 2024

The following was written by Jeff Crockett, coordinator of the Celebration:

"The Ann Arbor 200th Anniversary and Picnic was the culmination of hundreds of hours of planning over the past six months by members of the History Subcommittee for the Bicentennial. Cosponsoring organizations were represented by Rita Mitchell, President of the Library Green Conservancy, Sarah Miller, Director of Destination Ann Arbor, Angela Heflin, Director of the State Street District and Ann Dilcher, Board member of the Kempf House. Radio Host Lucy Ann Lance, the Emcee, performed masterfully.
"Norm Tyler provided an overview of the A2 SmartTours. Andrew MacLaren of Ann Arbor District Library described the library's Ann Arbor 200 project. Seven speakers inspired us with personal stories related to the Bicentennial. They were Bev Willis, Amy Seetoo, John Metzger, Christina Morales Hemenway, Artemis Leontis, Ali Ramlawi, and Charles Newman. The Ann Arbor Vocal Arts Ensemble, led by Ben Cohen, mesmerized us with their songs about Ann Arbor. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell gave a heartfelt birthday wish to Ann Arbor, which was entered into the Congressional Record. She presented the community with a Congressional plaque which was turned over to Police Chief Andre Anderson. Christine Crockett gave a preview of the 200-question Bicentennial Quiz, to be released on May 30 at A birthday cake from Big City Bakery was rapidly consumed. On both ends of the celebration, the Ralph McKee's Blues Band entertained us. Words cannot describe how elated our Subcommittee has been with the turnout and performances."

After the Celebration, two SmartTours group tours led by guides Patrick McCauley and Ilene Tyler took participants on nearby walking tours. If you wish to be part of a future group tour, get updates by contacting Norm at:

Concentrate Media Article

Posted: May 28, 2024

Journalist Jaishree Drepaul wrote a wonderful article on SmartTours for Concentrate Media. Titled "New self-guided tours offer a look at Ann Arbor's 'living history' for city's bicentennial," it includes the perspectives of SmartTours Group Chair Norm Tyler, local historian Susan Wineberg, and SmartTourer Joann Green. Find it online.

You can now have your own SmartTours T-Shirt. These pale blue shirts are currently available for Medium/Large/XLarge sizes. Printed by our good friend Elmo, purchase one for $12.00 by contacting Norm at 734 761-5549 or

There also are other Bicentennial sites. Check them out:
Ann Arbor Bicentennial Home page.
Ann Arbor District Library's "Ann Arbor 200"
Washtenaw County Historical Society
Ann Arbor Historical Foundation

Some of the SmartTours sites are described in Books.
Some SmartTours sites are linked to Videos.

Also note these SmartTours-Friendly Restaurants.

SmartTours is a totally Volunteer effort. Our projects need funding and we could use your financial help at any level. We would like to add your name as an individual or group. See how to become a special SmartTours DONOR.

Want regular updates on SmartTours? Click and type "Yes"
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More Interviews

Posted: May 21, 2024

On the Lucy Ann Lance Show, Jeff and Chris Crockett and Susan Wineberg were interviewed and talked about the May 25th Bicentennial Celebration, as well as SmartTours. Jeff also was interviewed by Deb Polich for her WEMU program, Creative: Impact.

Always looking for a new way to promote SmartTours

Posted: May 15, 2024

A Banner Year! Posted: April 16, 2024

We now have a beautiful and colorful SmartTours banner. Held by Jeff Crockett, it was donated to SmartTours by WAP John, whose graphic design and signmaking business, Grafaktri, provides distinctive visual services.

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SmartTouring Posted: April 16, 2024

UM Professor Charles Lwanga is viewing the old Unitarian Church with his SmartPhone, part of the Old Fourth Ward Tour.

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SmartTours Group Posted: April 7, 2024

The SmartTours project began in April 2023 with four individuals interested in creating tours to celebrate the Bicentennial. The group grew and the original idea grew from five tours to fifteen tours with 177 sites.

The Ann Arbor District Library became an integral partner as the web-based host for the smartphone-based tours. SmartTours will remain hosted by the library indefinitely and the number of tours may be increased after the Bicentennial year.

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CTN Interview Posted: March 30, 2024

Ann Arbor's Community Television Network (CTN) captured the SmartTours story on its community program, "FYI". Host Dana Denha spoke for 20 minutes with SmartTours Group member Paul Conway. Paul talked about the development of the SmartTours project, its partnership with the library, and the growing interest of residents and visitors touring the 177 sites. Watch the interview online.

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Old Fourth Ward Neighborhood Receives Award Posted: May 11, 2024

The Michigan Historic Preservation Network selected the Old Fourth Ward Association to receive the 2024 Community Award for its efforts in building community in the Old Fourth Ward Historic District and Neighborhood, one of the SmartTours. This award honors the Association for its engagement in historic preservation activities that promote and protect the Historic District and Neighborhood.

Members of the Old Fourth Ward Association accepted the award at the Annual Preservation Awards Reception and Ceremony on Friday, May 10, 2024, as part of the annual Michigan Historic Preservation Network conference in Kalamazoo.

Old Fourth Ward Association Board members.
Back row, left to right: Chris Crockett, Jeff Crockett, Steve Hudolin, Kim Hudolin, and Julie Ritter.
Front row, left to right: Elleanor Crown, Ryan Pantaleo, and Ilene Tyler.
Board members not in photo: Susan Wineberg, David Kennedy, Peter Osler, and Betsy Williams.

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SmartTours Speaks to You Posted: March 14, 2024

Would you rather not read tour narratives as you visit the SmartTour sites? You could instead listen to your favorite computer voice read them to you. Here are the settings for an Apple iPhone. Settings are similar on other phones, so set yours up before beginning your SmartTouring.

On an iPhone: Settings > Accessibility > Spoken Content > Speak Selection On.
You can set your own voice (We suggest Siri Voice 1) and the speaking speed.
After setting it, go to the SmartTours web page, drag your figure across the text to be read, touch the blue area, and click on the Speak tab.
(Note: We have not tested for older models or other types of phones. Contact us to add your comments to this discussion and we will update it.)

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SmartTours Booklet Posted: March 6, 2024

SmartTours relies on use of a smartphone. But what if you have trouble using your smartphone for tours? We have made available a booklet with all 15 Tours and 177 site photos and narratives. You can download a .pdf version of SmartTours in a color version or a black and white version.

Also, you can download the SmartTours Checklist with a complete listing.

These resources also are available at any of the district libraries.

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SmartTours friends Posted: February 28, 2024

We were pleased to receive recent unsolicited emails from various individuals.

"Being a born and raised townie but now living elsewhere, I enjoyed all the tours online and its interesting content."
"Last night I had five friends over for tea and discussion, two of whom had attended the Feb 21 Evenings with OLLI presentation. As a quick bicentennial activity, we went through the scavenger hunt photos as a group. It was a lot of fun."
"We really enjoyed the tour of the old Fourth Ward and Kerrytown. The guide was impressive and we learned a lot. We live in a very interesting town!"
"Beautifully designed."

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Bicentennial Presentations Posted: February 21, 2024

Russ Collins (Michigan Theater), Andrew MacLaren (AADL), and Norm Tyler (SmartTours) enjoyed giving presentations on our activities celebrating Ann Arbor's Bicentennial. Russ talked about the founding fathers of Dexter and Ann Arbor; Andrew presented the many Bicentennial programs of the library, and Norm described the SmartTours program. Amy Karbo hosted the lively event hosted by UM's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).

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Lucy Ann Lance Interview Posted: February 7, 2024

On February 6th Norm Tyler was interviewed by popular local radio host Lucy Ann Lance. Norm described the smarttoursTours program--how it got started and how it will be integrated with Ann Arbor's Bicentennial celebrations.

Link to interview

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Ann Arbor Postal History Posted: February 4, 2024

SmartTours includes numerous references to the city's early history. The Lower Town and Downtown tours include locations of the city's earliest post offices. Enjoy reviewing excerpts of a presentation by postal historian Cary Johnson.

Ann Arbor's early postal history

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SmartTours PlanningPosted: January 23, 2024

The SmartTours committee is chaired by Norman Tyler ( and includes Tom Stulberg (co-chair), Paul Conway, Susan Wineberg, Christine Crockett, Carol Mull, Fran Wright, Ilene Tyler, and graphic designer Don Hammond. The Ann Arbor District Library hosts the SmartTours website, under direction of staff member Andrew MacLaren, and intends to keep it active indefinitely.

SmartTours Promotions Committee--Paul Conway, Tom Stulberg, Norm Tyler

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