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This is the QR code, a two-dimensional barcode readable by camera phones, for this very blog’s URL. Simply typing the URL into a free online service created the image; now I could go and print this out and paste it in a public space, and let people retrieve my postings to their mobile phones by simply photographing the code. In a museum context, codes like this could be integrated into the onsite information, allowing visitors to retrieve additional information about the exhibited objects etc. and thereby costumize their visit as well as establish a connection to the museum’s online ressources for subsequent follow ups.

Still , visitors would need to recognize this graphic image as a QR code and understand how to interact with it. Now this could prove a bit of a challenge. And what’s the point in introducing more gimmicks for the technologically enlightened few?

True, using QR codes as part of the exhibition information system would not work as a standalone at the moment, as the service would simply not register with most visitors. But as the technology holds a lot of advantages when it comes to on demand information and bridging the gap between the onsite and online iterations of an exhibition (this of course requires that there is an online version of or supplement to the exhibition; and that content is produced which is suited to this media format), it could be well worth it for museums to start experimenting with the possibilities. More and more people own phones that could read the code and display the information, and already they are using them in innovative ways to access all sorts of information and entertainment. Why not harness their technophilia by letting them play with their favourite toys in your exhibition?

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