Defining Open Authority

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3 years ago 9 notes Wikipedia tech QR codes GLAMWIKI exhibits museums

Lori on QRpedia: New post @TCMIndy's blog

In this, my third blog post for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, I talk about the QRpedia codes present in two (soon to be four!) exhibits and explain how they will help non-English speaking visitors learn more about some of the museum’s favorite objects — through Wikipedia, of course!

You can also check out my new, sparkly webpage on the Children’s Museum’s site, with an updated photo of me cheesing with the new QRpedia code labels.

As an addendum, I’d like to post some personal reflections:

On Wednesday me and my boss went up to observe visitors in line for the Carousel to see if they used the QRpedia codes. In our mere 20 minutes in the exhibit, I was actually pleased to see two instances of dads stopping to scan the QRpedia labels. With how much parents have to chase kids around, especially in the mirror maze that’s adjacent to the carousel, I really wasn’t expecting to catch anyone using it!

Not only was I thrilled to see people digging out their phones to scan our QRpedia code, but I was able to observe a dad sharing all about the history of the carousel to his father (the grandad) as the baby rode the carousel with mom. He went on and on sharing the fascinating history of the carousel - the story of the fire and the loss of the roof, how it came to the museum, etc.  As cheesy as it may sound, it really took my breath away, standing there watching visitors interact with something that I helped to bring about.

As a museum studies grad student I’ve had to observe visitors on a handful of occasions, and it’s always fascinating. But never have I had the chance to observe something I helped produce. I really wasn’t expecting for it to impact me in that way. But it really brought everything home for me, and gave me new insights, as well:

  • The Children’s Museum aims to promote inter-generational sharing. While this is typically between children and parents/grandparents, this can just as easily mean sharing between adults and their parents, as I witnessed between the dad/grandad.
  • It makes sense that tech-savvy dads would be the ones to more frequently scan the QRpedia codes, but I’d bet there are many tech-savvy moms that do as well, if I’d stood around long enough to catch them.
  • The placement of the QRpedia label is ideal as groups not riding the carousel wait for the rest of their parties to finish. I’d be curious to see how this is different from the placement of the Reuben Wells steam engine QRpedia code, which doesn’t have that situation to its advantage.
  • I loved watching my theory of “Wikipedia as the next level of detailed information” in practice. In my opinion, there really is no better way to provide such a detailed history of an object for those who are interested, without flooding the exhibit environment with text. Those curious about more history and information can scan the code, those who aren’t, can skip it!
  • And not only that, but the fact that we’re working on translating the article to make it more accessible to even more visitors? It’s just exciting.
  • It also made me doubly appreciative of the time, skill, and effort from all of the people who made the carousel QRpedia label possible. It required a talented and dedicated Wikipedian to expand the article so extensively, curators to dig up the old buried details of its history, the QRpedia developers for rolling out the technology at just the right time, and the museum’s exhibit developers & designers to create a fantastic, easy to use label.

It’s the “little” things that make this emerging museum professional smile. :)

Post Notes

  1. hstryqt posted this
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