QR codes + Wikipedia = QRpedia
Back in April, weshared about all of the museum’s latest mobile fun, including the addition of QR codes in some exhibits. QR codes can be scanned using an app on your smart phone, which then automatically loads more information (a website or a video) about the topic. We now have QR codes for the Carousel and the Reuben Wells that link directly to the objects’ Wikipedia articles. In the near future, look out for QR codes for Bucky, Captain Kidd’s cannon, Fireworks of Glass, and the water clock. By using QR codes, the museum is not only sharing information with the world through Wikipedia, but is also helping visitors access the additional information while they’re in the exhibits. As the Wikipedian-in-Residence, I’m pretty excited about that!
…But these aren’t just any Wikipedia articles. As I shared in this Wikipedian-in-Residence update, five of the Wikipedia articles were created by the museum’s own Museum Apprentice Program students, who worked with curators and other experts around the museum to research the museum’s most iconic objects. After two months of research and learning how to edit in Wikipedia, the articles went live at the end of February.
The Carousel article is special because a Wikipedian helped us to improve it so extensively that it received Featured Article status. It took special trips to visit museum curators, lots of research, and hours of writing and editing in order to achieve this acclaimed status in Wikipedia…and we’re quite proud! Curators have called the article the single most comprehensive history of the carousel that exists. Be sure to check it out by scanning the QR code the next time you’re in the carousel line!
…And these aren’t just any QR codes! They’re QRpedia codes. QRpedia is a website that easily creates QR codes and links to Wikipedia in order to provide information about a topic in the visitor’s own language. Once the QR code is scanned, the QRpedia website detects the phone’s language and loads the mobile-friendly Wikipedia article in that language. QRpedia has already been used in England and Spain; the Children’s Museum is the first in the United States to use it in exhibits.
We’re now working with Wikipedians-in-Residence in other parts of the world to translate our Wikipedia articles into Spanish and French so that we can take advantage of this technology. Recently, Alex, the Wikipedian in Residence at Museu Picasso in Barcelona, translated the museum’s Wikipedia article into Spanish and Catalan as a gift to us. Did you know that the Dracorex Wikipedia article has been translated into sixteen other languages? That means that, by posting a QRpedia code, a lot more people could learn about one of our most famous dinosaurs in their own language.
The next time you’re at the museum, be sure to keep your eye out for QR codes. You’d be surprised what new things you might learn about some of your favorite objects!