What is this Odd Black and White Square?

QR code

qrcodeWith the upcoming exhibition, Facing Out, Facing In: Figurative Works from the Michener Art Museum Collection, the Michener will be using a special tool to help users with mobile phones access additional information.  For all you tech savvy people out there, this image is probably very familiar to you!

If you don’t recognize this image on the left, it is known as  a QR code, or a Quick Response code,  seen more often in stores and now in museums or historic sites. This code, similar in functionality to the traditional barcode, can be scanned using a smartphone. So, a QR code is like a like a barcode, but better.

Technically speaking, QR codes encode data both horizontally and vertically in a grid of tiny squares, whereas the traditional barcode encodes the data on a horizontal plane. Since the QR code encodes data both ways, it allows for much more data to be encoded in a smaller space. Also, QR codes can be read from any angle, unlike barcodes that have to be aligned properly.

Using the proper software, QR codes are a great way to allow users to connect to websites, download files, and access additional content or text.  It bypasses having to type in a long URL of a website on your phone, for example. So for museums, it’s a great way to provide the visitor with additional information on an artist or an artwork.

So, to try something new, the Michener will be using these codes on labels in the Facing Out, Facing In exhibition to access information on the artists featured in the show. If you have a smartphone with the right application, scan the code above and see what you can find out!

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