The Smithsonian Gets Tagged

Holly Richmond
Friday, Apr 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM
How a D.C. museum is using Microsoft Tag in exhibits.

Smithsonian Tag


If you’re pulling a Ben Stiller and spending a night (or day) at the museum, don’t forget your phone. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. is using Tags next to some of its 800,000 pieces, says a sharp-eyed coworker. By scanning Tags next to gallery artwork, museum browsers can get more info about the artist as well as various museum programs. Check it out:


Smithsonian Tag


This isn’t the Smithsonian’s first foray into mobile tagging. Its Natural History Museum previously used 2D barcodes in a Neanderthal exhibit. After scanning barcodes, users were taken to a mobile app and could upload a picture that would be turned into a “Meanderthal,” giving them an idea of what they might’ve looked like 50,000 years ago (creative!). The Seattle Art Museum recently used tagging too, putting Tags throughout its popular Picasso exhibit.


Using Tags in a museum is a great way to make exhibits more interactive by providing additional detail about certain pieces, link them with your online gift shop where they can buy a particular print, or help people find their way through the exhibit. Have you seen 2D barcodes being used at a museum? And would you scan one? There are probably other ideas that'd work well too. Tell us what you'd like to see in a museum in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.



Best Practices for Using Tag

Design Tags that scan easily and offer an engaging mobile experience



Capture customers in the moment and bring printed materials to life



Tag lets you engage people anytime, anywhere, from magazine ads to store aisles

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