DC's monuments are trying to figure out how to deal with Pokémon Go - Technical.ly DC

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Jul. 13, 2016 9:55 am

DC’s monuments are trying to figure out how to deal with Pokémon Go

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the video game of the moment.

D.C.'s public spaces have a new challenge on their hands.

(Photo by Flickr user Jordan Bajc, used under a Creative Commons license)

It’s safe to say that Pokémon Go has taken D.C. by storm.

Everywhere you look there are players swiping, roaming the District in search of Pokémon to catch, gyms to train at and PokeStops to visit. Social media is all abuzz with hot takes, and news organizations can’t seem to get enough — posting stories that range from speculation about Pokémon Go’s impact on our heath, to it’s impact on our safety and so much more.

It’s everywhere.

And this means, as tourists and locals alike descend on D.C., phones at the ready to capture some creatures in augmented reality, the city’s monuments and other public spaces have got to figure out how to deal with it. The big questions: Can we attract more visitors by being PokéSavvy? or, Do we really want our visitors playing at all?

Some, like the Capitol, seem pretty enthusiastic. Perhaps social media managers are hoping that the thought of catching ’em all will lure in visitors:

Other institutions playing in to the PokéHype include the Smithsonian museums, D.C. United and D.C. Public Library, to name just a few.

But not everyone is so pleased.

On Tuesday the U.S. Holocaust Museum became the first monument in D.C. to ask visitors not to play Pokémon while on the premises.

“Playing Pokemon Go in a memorial dedicated to the victims of Nazism is extremely inappropriate,”Andy Hollinger, the museum’s director of communications, told ABC News in a statement. “We are attempting to have the Museum removed from the game.”

The museum also tweeted:

And Arlington National Cemetery followed suit shortly thereafter, tweeting:

The National Mall and Memorial Parks Facebook account, hoping to strike a balance, asked that visitors be “respectful” with where and when they play.

“Yes, it might be tempting to go after that Snorlax near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, or the Venusaur hanging out in the chamber of the Jefferson Memorial,” they wrote, “but remember that there are places of solemn reflection here at the National Mall where playing Pokemon just isn’t appropriate.”

The very same post teases to “ranger-led Pokemon hunts,” though, so take that how you will.

Some would say Pokémon Go is just one step in a trend toward AR games and, yes, life. If that’s true it’ll be interesting to watch how public, traditionally physical spaces continue to evolve and adapt to this new reality.

Companies: Smithsonian
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