People visit museums for one single reason – to experience. Experience history, art, or scientific marvel through their own senses. Museums are no less than educational institutions.
But like educational institutions, museums are also facing challenges based on behavioural characteristics of the visitors:
- Some visitors find museums dull and museums find it difficult to engage these visitors
- Many visitors, including children, now spend more time looking at their smartphone screens
- Using audio-visual media to keep things interesting is a costly affair
So what can Museums do to address these challenges in a cost-effective way? One way is to use QR Code technology.
How can QR Codes help?
A QR Code is a two-dimensional barcode that connects smartphones from print to online media. When a QR Code is scanned using a smartphone, the visitor can view a website, video, photos, or listen to audio. The visitor only needs to have a free QR Code scanning app and access to internet.
How to enhance visitor experience in museums use QR Codes?
There is no limit on where your imagination and creativity can take you. But here are the most common use cases for museums:
1. Provide more information about an artefact
If you house many artefacts, then there is only so much information you can put on display. However, with a QR Code, you can give interested visitors the option of reading up more on the artefact by scanning the QR Code and visiting the information online via their smartphones.
Erarta in St Petersburg, a contemporary art museum and gallery, is using QR Codes to provide further information about artists and their works, information in different languages, and option to order a reproduction of the work.
2. Give online audio tours
Near the entrance of the museum, you can set up a QR Code that allows visitors to go to the webpage that gives a detailed audio tour of the entire facility. A dedicated mobile is another way to do this but using QR Codes and linking a website is a much affordable alternative.
Both options are much better than the audio-guide contraptions currently being used in most museums.
The Tacoma Art Museum uses the STQRY mobile app to allow visitors to scan QR Codes and get audio tours in their app.
In June 2016, Kansas University held “Celebrating Opportunity for People with Disabilities: 70 Years of Dole Leadership” exhibition.
Each display came with a QR Code. When scanned using a scanning app, visitors could hear an audio description of the exhibit via their smartphone.
“No one should have to give up attending arts and culture events because they lose their sight. Visitors who are unable to see or read standard print can still experience the visual elements.” – Jennifer Nigro, volunteer coordinator.
In Nov 2016, Torrington Historical Society, installed QR Code plaques across 21 historical sites.
The QR Code linked to an audio guide of the building. Tourists can scan the QR Code to learn about the history of the building and site.
“The audio tour is an initiative that allows residents and visitors to use audio recordings to explore the history of many buildings and sites in the downtown historic district,” – Mark McEachern, Executive Director, Torrington Historical Society.
3. Show interesting videos
Instead of putting large screens and constructing AV rooms, simply add a QR Code near the artefact. Interested users can scan the code and watch the video on their smartphones.
The Seoul Museum of History gives visitors the option of playing videos and sign language videos of exhibits by scanning a QR Code.
4. Organise QR Code-based games
Using this technology, you can set up games such as scavenger hunts to engage younger visitors.
The Arizona State Museum runs the ‘Discover Arizona State Museum: A QR Code Museum Contest’ that allows children to play a scavenger hunt using QR Codes as hidden clues and win prizes. This ensures that children are not only engaged but also learning.
5. Make artefact social by allowing visitors to leave comments or selfies
Using QR Codes you can connect the visitors with the artefacts by allowing them to leave comments, have discussions, or even click selfies and share online on platforms such as Instagram.
Comune di Roma ran a pilot project Musei in strada (Museums in the Streets) to showcase some of Rome’s treasured art and culture.
The project aims to get people who wouldn’t usually engage with Rome’s art and culture more interested, on a level which is accessible and appealing to them. As an additional incentive, anyone who takes and uploads a ‘selfie’ will be given free access to the museums involved – Musei in strada
How to set up a QR Code Campaign for your museum?
To start creating QR Codes for your museum, you simply need to set up the following:
1. Online content
Convert information on the artefacts in the form of interactive media such as webpages, videos, photos, and audio and get URLs for each exhibit.
2. QR Code Management tool
Using the content URLs, generate QR Codes with the help of a QR Code Management tool (such as Scanova). The tool allows you to edit URLs, create custom-designed QR Codes, and track scanning activity.
Set up a QR Code Campaign