When I travel, I like to check out the historic sites along my way. Whether it is a Baroque church in Europe or a historic barn in the Canadian interior, I am curious to learn more about the building and the people that used to live in it. If I’m lucky I can find a plaque somewhere that tells me a little bit about the building or the year it was built. But often the bits of information don’t really satisfy my curiosity. I’m sure you have experienced this too!
At the same time I carry my smartphone with me everywhere and I like to scan QR (Quick Response) codes. So when I heard that a historic site in our city had a 120th anniversary coming up I saw my chance to create Kelowna’s first ever interactive plaque. And voila,
I donated a brand new plaque featuring important information about the building’s history and a photo from 1910. In addition to this traditional content I also added a QR code and a short URL to the sign. If you scan the code you are led to a landing page that is optimized for mobile devices.
With no need to download a dedicated app everyone with a smartphone or tablet can now get fresh multimedia content about the site. I produced Youtube videos about the inside of the building and added links to get in touch with the Heritage Society with the touch of a finger.
You may ask “What does a sign for a historic building have to do with Social Media?” The Heritage Marker Project turns static signage into a launch pad for interaction and engagement:
- The visitor can reach the related Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube pages with one click
- It is much easier to share the location with your friends
- The visitor can easily send an email or phone the office
- A map button leads to further Heritage Markers sites in the area
- When planning your trip you can discover the site from your computer and send directions to your friends
- The possibilities are endless!
The project was very well received by all that came to the unveiling, including BC’s Minister for Heritage. I just came back from a conference of Heritage BC where the idea was also met with great enthusiasm. I am looking forward to many more Heritage Marker Projects in the near future. Let me know if you have a connection to a historic site that would benefit from a Heritage Marker!