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Town tapping into QR code reading technology for trips back in time

Marrying history and modern technology

It would seem an odd combination using Quick Response (QR) code technology on mobile Smartphones to learn about the history of Crested Butte, but that combination will be available this summer.





A partnership between the town of Crested Butte, the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum and the valley’s Tourism Association (TA) could result in a boost to the heritage tourism aspect of town.
The Town Council agreed Monday, May 2, to allocate up to $2,000 to develop a program whereby people could use an iPhone or Droid to scan a QR code on an historic building in Crested Butte and then be directed to a website featuring the history of that building. A QR code essentially looks like a square bar code that can be scanned.
“We learned of similar programs while at a conference in Denver,” town historic preservation officer Molly Minneman explained to the council, “and then we saw that Trippons is using a similar QR code in Crested Butte to link people to their website from a Smartphone. We thought we could adapt the two and help guide people on their own historical walking tour. The idea is to merge the town’s historic plaque tour with the museum’s walking tour and add the QR code element.”
Minneman said everyone wants to start out simply and small, but eventually add video to the links. The TA would host the website and also track how often it is used and by whom.
“The backbone of the project would be the website,” said Erica Kelleher of the TA. “It is a way to marry history and technology. Everyone will have a Smartphone eventually. Heritage tourism is picking up and this is a way to combine technology, tourism and history. Eventually we can include audio and video.”
Councilmen Roland Mason and Dan Escalante recommended consulting local historian Duane Vandenbusche. “I love the way Vandenbusche can bring in young and old people with a good story,” said Escalante.
“It has room to grow but we want to start with gathering the history for the website,” said Minneman. “It is a good time to get into this as more and more people use Smartphones.”
“Being somewhat of a Luddite myself, I think a few people like to walk with people,” said councilmember Jim Schmidt. “I like to see people talking to people and not isolating themselves behind technology.”
“Glo feels the same way you do and she will continue to hold her walking tours a couple times a week,” assured Minneman in reference to museum executive director Glo Cunningham. “That option is still there. This is also a nice way to see the town, the TA and the museum working together.”
“We have an amazing resource with heritage tourism,” added Crested Butte building and zoning director Bob Gillie. “It has immense economic potential. It’s our job to use resources to our best advantage. This is a good way to try something new.”
The council agreed to spend the money from the town’s venture fund.

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