SA Naval Museum goes high-tech


With a new visitor enhancement feature now up and running, SA Naval Museum curator Commander Leon Steyn is keeping pace with international museum developments and quietly confident of markedly improving the museum experience.

The Simon’s Town museum recently added the QR (quick response) code to its display menu. He explained the code works like a barcode on a product in store. “It is a machine-scannable image that can instantly be read using a smartphone camera.  When the code is scanned, it translates information into readable text.”

“Museum displays or exhibitions – by their very nature – contain only certain abstracts of information.  This is presented visually to make it more attractive to the visitor. Conversely, it is often short of detailed information.  Museum displays or exhibitions are often tantalisingly short of information, which hopefully encourages visitors to dig deeper and find out more about favourite display items or topics.

“Traditionally museum visitors depended on libraries or archives to find books or material on favourite topics.  Today’s generation are more inclined and equipped to find information fast in a seamless manner through technology at their disposal including smartphones – the link to this.  Today nearly all visitors to the SA Naval Museum carry these devices that can seamlessly scan QR codes to open URLs and links to more information,” Steyn explains.

The latest addition to the SA Naval Museum extensive displays is titled “Admiral Hallifax and the Lodestar accident 80 years ago” and is the first to feature on QR.

“There was just so much more to show and tell than the single museum display could ever offer.  Following historical research, an in-depth article was written about and posted on the museum website.  A QR code was generated, linked to the museum website URL, printed and placed prominently at the new display.

“With that, the link between physically visiting the museum – to see pieces of wreckage from the Lodestar aircraft or Hallifax’s admiral’s cap – and the virtual world of information technology was a done deal,” Steyn said.