QR codes are simply a way to deliver content to mobile devices. The focus is not QR codes but the content that they link to.
Because the content is going to be viewed on a cellphone and in public, it is important to keep content short in length and small in file size. The Internet browsers installed on phones can also display things very differently from what you may see on a computer, and there is much difference from phone to phone as well. For this reason, we recommend using sites which have been pre-designed to display on mobile phones. Many popular, free sites—which you may already be using—automatically reformat your uploaded content when viewed from a phone. The list includes Flickr (images), YouTube (video), Wordpress and Tumblr (blogging and text) and Facebook and Twitter (social networking). Using sites such as these eliminates hosting costs, provides some built-in statistical tracking and removes the need for advanced technical knowledge. If you are already using these sites it has the added benefit of re-purposing content which already exists.
Detailed instructions for creating these projects can be found in Appendix B: Project How-Tos.
Readings From Books
Reading short sections of relevant published works can be an easy way to make engaging content. It's easier to record high-quality audio than video, and if you're selling the book in the gift shop it can make for a nice tie-in. These audio segments can be matched with photos, or even just your institution's logo, and uploaded to YouTube.
Oral History interviews with community elders make for engaging short content. They can be placed near items in the museum which they reference either thematically or directly—imagine, for example, a description of housework in the placed in the kitchen of a historic house museum. Since many institutions have oral histories as part of their collections, this is also a way to re-purpose already existing content and minimize workload.
Another way to re-purpose existing content is to create simple slideshows using archival or other photos. These can be combined with either of the two audio types suggested above, paired to music or silent.
Even a single photo can make for effective content. One of our sites, for example, used QR codes to link to advertisements from the and for objects they had on display. This method is simple, but effective.
If some of your artifact records for objects on display have been placed online, a simple link to that content is a great way to share knowledge of that artifact that would otherwise be unknown. Records for items which are not or cannot be displayed due to interpretive choices or fragility can also be linked to, providing visitors with a peek into the "back room" of the museum.
QR Codes can also be used to create narrated audio tours, providing introductions to rooms and further information on artifacts from curators and staff.
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