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History Markers Come Alive with QR Codes


Tourists in Fort Wayne, Indiana, are told to do a walking tour called the Central Downtown Heritage Trail.

The Trail takes tourists to various historical points in the area, which include 19 historical sites. These sites all have markers to commemorate an event or historical figure that helped shaped Fort Wayne.

The trail was first established in 1994, in time for Fort Wayne’s bicentennial celebrations.

Now these are being upgraded.

With a $2,000 grant, the city’s preservation group, ARCH, Inc. is putting up QR codes at each of the 19 historical sites. They also built mobile optimized Web sites that would offer people who scan the QR codes more information about the stop.

These QR codes are found underneath the markers. For example, people who scan the QR codes found at the Canal House marker would be taken to the online page where they would read about the history of the place, its owners and notable residents, including the Homeyers and the Borgmans.

An audio file is also available for each of the stops. These mp3 files are a recording of Tom Castaldi’s “On the Heritage Trail” segments broadcasted weekly on WBNI-FM.

The QR codes not only made each site interactive, but it offered a lot of information that you can not fit into a marker or a sign. This makes the tour even more educational and fun.

But it is not just for tourists. The people behind these QR codes hope that residents would also scan the QR codes and learn more about their city and its history. Hopefully, they would be able to understand their history and become proud of their heritage.

ARCH, Inc. is planning to put up similar QR codes for other trails in the area.

While it is not unusual to see QR codes at tourist spots, we laud their efforts at making their historic places even more interesting to people. It is just a great example of how QR codes could help make the offline world even more interesting by augmenting it with multimedia information and other online resources.

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