Thursday, November 25, 2010

Interpretation through Q R Codes

Ok, how many of you are wondering what the image in this post is all about? No, I have not entered my abstract black and white phase as an artist. Nor have I taken to patchwork quilt design. This image is what is known as a QR code (quick response code) and it will have some importance for museum interpretation in the future. Codes like this can be scanned with a smart phone to provide many different sorts of information. For example, by scanning the code in this post you will be brought directly to the Annapolis Heritage Society website. This could just as easily have been a link to a relevant video, archival images or an audio file. In Japan where codes of this sort are in more common usage, they can be found everywhere from grocery store shelves to cemeteries. Give it a try all of you iPhone / BlackBerry users. If it didn't work, you may need to download an application for your phone.

Now, how does this emerging technology fit into the museums of the Annapolis Heritage Society? Earlier today we had a couple of interesting visitors from the Association of Nova Scotia Museums. Alexandra and Josh were in Annapolis Royal as part of a pilot project to test QR codes at various museum sites across Nova Scotia. We are using this opportunity to make some of our local experts available to museum visitors through the technology they carry in their pockets. For example, we recorded enough footage to make three short videos with local architect Harry Jost. Harry has been instrumental to the development of the Sinclair Inn Museum. The videos will have him talking about the modern support structure we have chosen to use in this 300 year old building and why we used this material. At the O'Dell House Museum we invited Geoff Butler to discuss his painting of the Order of Good Cheer which is located at the top of the stairs. This whimsical painting always draws the attention of visitors. Now these visitors will be able to hear Geoff discussing why he created the painting and some of its iconography. As you can imagine, there is great potential for inexpensively bringing forward stories and information that would not have been possible previously. Imagine having access to experts, artists and behind the scenes resources as you make your way through the museum.

All for now,
RGS

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