I’ve always been fascinated by airships, I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it’s that scene from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade where Indianna travels on a Hindenberg that has stuck with me. So when I was casually musing about what to write about this week and took a quick look at historical events that happened on the 6th July as I often do. I was struck by the fact that the first Airship to cross the Atlantic arrived in the United States on the 6th July 1919.
My interest didn’t stop there and went further by doing a quick search across our collections here at the Trust using our collection management system. Having a quick browse through the various airship related objects in the collection, which goes to prove we have so much variety in our collections, I noticed on object in particular which I have added below.
The R34 made the first return west-east trip across the Atlantic by air, arriving in the U.S on the 6th July 1919
It is from our collection at Bateman’s and shows the exact route the British R34 took when making it’s first return trip across the Atlantic in 1919. The R34 would leave the U.K on the 2nd July 1919 and arrive in the U.S.A on 6th July 1919 after a total flight time of 108 hours. The return journey to Norfolk would take from the 10th through to the 13th July and take 75 hours. The airship was not intended for long distance flight and so hammocks were placed in the keel walkway and a metal plates was welded to an engine exhaust pipe to cook hot food.
Another interesting fact about the flight of the R34 is that as the ground crew had no experience of handling large rigid airships, Major EM pritchard jumped by parachute and so became the first person to reach America soil by air from Europe.
R34's less than glamorous fate, wrecked by bad weather!
The R34 would eventually be written off in January 1921 and it’s story would end there. I think it’s amazing the things you can find in our collections!
QR or ‘Quick Response’ Codes have been about since 1994 when Denso-Wave Corporation invented them Japan. That being said the greater use of smart phones with cameras has meant there has been a greater use of these nifty little codes in recent times. In fact I only heard about them in March when a Information Officer friend at Newcastle Libraries told me all about them.
Go on, see where this QR code takes you!
This growth has been especially true in the Museum/Heritage Sector. There are various example of QR code usage in the Heritage Sector including:
- National Museum of Scotland: Tales of Things – Using QR codes to provide information about object including rare film and images and allowing users to leave memories and comments. Tales of things uses an App format.
- QRATOR– UCL takes the work around the Tales of Things project further by using QR codes to allow visitors to view curated information and leave their own interpretation. QRATOR links to a database.
- QR-Pedia: Site used to create QR codes to wikipedia sites, allowing access to wikipedia articles in a mobile-friendly format.
I think the best way to think about QR codes is they are simply a mobile readbale web address, they can create a link between the real world and our increasingly digital world. So why have they become so popular recently, especially when linked to Museum Collections? Well not only because of the aforementioned upsurge in smart phone usage, mobile cameras and increased mobile internet speeds and access.
Using QR codes are cheap, in fact most readers and generating codes are free. Creating the codes can be done in house. Secondly, you could link it to exisiting websites; for example those online collections databases that many Museums have already spent lots of money on. This is particularly true if the site is already mobile friendly.
Of course, all this blurring of the real and digital world also has it’s problems. Not everyone has a smart phone, how many people are aware of QR codes (although they are out there when you look!) and how do we overcome the age all problem of reliable internet access at sites not designed with this in mind (like so many NT sites)?
I’m often blogging about all the great things other organisations are doing when it comes to social or digital media. This week I’m going to talk about the use of new technology at Nymans House and Gardens. The estate itself was home to the creative Messel family. Ludwig Messel buying the estate in 1890 starting the now famous garden. The house itself was to suffer from a fire in 1947 that would leave most of it destroyed, although it would be partially rebuilt and is now open to the public.
Nymans shiny new Ipad2
I’ve blogged previously about the potential uses of tablets, and in particular the use of Ipad as a cheap(er) way of doing interactives or allowing access to information. Nymans have recently went down this route and bought an Ipad2 to be used by Room Stewards and yesterday I uploaded/set up some content. I’ve been working on creating digitial versions of photo albums which were in the stores and are now available for members of the public to view on the Ipad without damaging the originals.
House Steward and Volunteers check out some digital version of photo albums on the new Ipad2
I think the thing I really like about them is the way you can pass the tablet around and it becomes a communal object in a way I’m not sure happens with large interactives.