The Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte has opened its gates. A collaboration with members of the Wikipedia community in Hamburg has resulted in QR codes in the museum and lots of information (including photos) about the museum’s exhibits on Wikipedia.
Ten cities all over the world hosted the Social Media Week from 18-22 February 2013 and for the second time I took the chance to attend many interesting sessions (all for free) in Hamburg. When I took part in the Social Media Week in Hamburg for the first time, last year, Tom Fries and I gave a presentation about the potential of big networks to find solutions for global problems. This time I had the opportunity to just listen and learn. And again it was worth it!
It would not make any sense to sum up each and every session. And I bet there are many other blogposts that give an overview of the most interesting presentations. I just pick one of my favourite sessions in order to focus on this amazing initiative: Wikipedia in Museums (link in German).
Wikipedia seems to be literally everywhere. Most of you have a smartphone and if you want to look something up there are two simple options: Google or Wikipedia. Now if you go into a museum you might think that you don’t need Wikipedia (or Google) because all the exhibits are furnished with tables that give explanations regarding history, context and so on. Why should you look up anything else? Because there is much more information about these exhibits than a museum can provide in a regular exhibition. And this is where Wikipedia comes into play.
The Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte has cooperated with some engaged members of the Wikipedia community in Hamburg (for example @Peter_Weis) to fill this gap. The Wikipedians and the museum’s resarchers had a few workshops to write texts for several exhibits and to take numerous photos. All this information can now be found here. The visitors of the museum can access these texts via QR codes that are placed next to the museum signages.
One of the participants of this tour through the museum asked the initiators how many visitors make use of the QR codes and it turned out that it’s still just a few people who scan the codes. However, I think that the biggest benefit of this project is not the QR codes in the museum but all the information that has left the gates of the Hamburg Museum and which is now available via Wikipedia including lots of pictures. This project is the first of its kind in Germany (there are similar projects in the UK) and I keep my fingers crossed for the initiators that they don’t need to legitimize this project by counting the people that use their QR codes. Information about Hamburg and its history has found its way to Wikipedia and this is a value in itself!