Technology has been changing at lightning speed in the last 10 years. Just think, less than 15 years ago, the first Blackberry was released. And, just a scant six years ago, the first iPhone was released. (For a quick tech history, click here) But, in those six years, the entire way that we navigate, photograph and communicate with the world around us has changed. Our mode of communication has changed from face-to-face interaction to emailing, texting and posting on social media.
Museums have been no exception to these changes. Though art institutions are often viewed as antiquated and cob-webby, we try to stay as up-to-date as possible in this fast paced world. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art communicates with its members through a Facebook page; keeps our students posted about events through our Twitter; regularly Instagrams photos of interesting events; writes interesting posts about what happens behind-the-scenes of the museum on our blog and, most recently we have incorporated interactive QR codes into the newest exhibition, Art Interrupted.
For those who do not already know, QR codes are similar to the bar codes on your food at the grocery store. These black-and-white squares can be scanned with your smartphone camera, which will take you to a specific web page. (See example below.) The QR codes are being used around the world to provide more information about a topic that can be accessed if a user is interested. QR codes are increasingly more mainstream as they become easier to create and more and more people have access to smartphones and QR code readers.
For Art Interrupted, we decided to use QR codes because it is impossible to fit all of the information about each artwork onto the small labels that are provided for each painting in the gallery. The QR codes give museum visitors the power to control how much information they are interested in consuming about each artwork. Additionally, QR codes enable the museum to include non-text information, such as video, audio recordings and other images.
Art Interrupted will be on display until June 9. When you visit, be sure to use your smartphone and check out all the extra information about the exhibition that was too large to fit on the wall. If you do not own a smartphone, please ask for the complimentary use of a museum iPod at the front desk.
Try scanning this QR code and see where it takes you!