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21st century Abraham Lincoln iPhone app and Web site

Updated 5/7/09 10:43 a.m. The allure of Abraham Lincoln, graffitied brightly with wispy hair on a wall in Houston is startling. The 16th president was born more than 200 years ago, but he continues to take new 21st century forms. The Rosenbach Museum and Library has launched an Abraham Lincoln iPhone and iPod Touch application […]

Updated 5/7/09 10:43 a.m.

The allure of Abraham Lincoln, graffitied brightly with wispy hair on a wall in Houston is startling.

The 16th president was born more than 200 years ago, but he continues to take new 21st century forms.

The Rosenbach Museum and Library has launched an Abraham Lincoln iPhone and iPod Touch application as part of its 21st-century Abe project, according to a press release from the half-century year-old historical organization in Rittenhouse.

The app is said to be the first by a Philadelphia cultural group.

The Bobble Abe app, which is available for free in the iTunes store, personifies old Abe as a bobble head that can be shook by users, along with humorous Lincoln aphorisms as recorded by Northern Liberties comedy theater company 1812 Productions, with actor Nathan Holt as the voice of Abe.

The app was developed by Laan Labs, a Philadelphia-based innovation company that helped sponsor Friday’s Indy Hall/Mashable event. The concept was envisioned by NoLibs marketing firm Lime Projects founder Laris Kreslins, who has his hands in many pots, including Move to Philly, which encourages people to relocate to our city.

“Basically it was just a matter of me justifying to the group… that our limited budget allotted to traditional advertising and online advertising would be better spent on an iPhone app and a Facebook Application,” Kreslins said of working with Rosenbach, Canary Promotion and Design and the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, which helped fund the project.

“Would people care more to interact with something that serves up information about an exhibit, or would they rather see a banner or a small print add? The results are not in, but I’m betting on the apps,” he said.

The 21st-century Abe project also includes a four-part mockumentary by 1812 Productions that is called “Abe Lincoln: Behind the Speeches.

It’s all seen on an innovative Web site which includes the scholarly, like handwritten Lincoln documents and transcripts, and more entertaining, like songs, spoofs, artwork and, yes, photos of Lincoln graffiti from Houston.

Update: The Web site was designed by Night Kitchen Interactive, a design firm based in Society Hill near Headhouse Square.

They’ve aggregated some of the coolest Web Lincoln 2.0 out there, like video of a 1950s TV appearance by a man who as a young boy witnessed Lincoln’s assassination.

Interactive Web site or not, it’s the free “Bobble Abe” app that’s worth the stir.

Abe isn’t the first foray Kreslins has made into iPhone apps. Philadelphia’s premiere geek blog, Geekadelphia, wrote last month about Snoozebot, which serves as a snooze button in 5 or 10 minute increments. See that one in the iTunes store, too, if you’re interested.

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Christopher Wink

Christopher Wink is a cofounder and Editorial Director of Technical.ly, the local technology news network. Previously, Wink worked for a homeless advocacy nonprofit and was a freelance reporter for a variety of publications. He writes regularly about news innovation and best business practices on his personal blog here. The bicycle commuter loves cities, urban politics and squabbling about neighborhood boundaries.

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