Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shut Out At A Museum?

Who are you talking to?!?!?
I've mentioned before that I do not own a smart phone and have no plans to get one any time soon.  I certainly don't judge those who have one and like it, but I just know that having a smart phone would take over my life and I don't want that.  What I'm starting to realize in a very real way lately is the fact that the world is skewing rapidly toward one where you're not only encouraged to have a smart phone, but almost required to have one.

When I was in high school, cell phones were a total luxury item and a wildly impractical one at that.  I don't honestly understand how Zach Morris managed to make so many calls on his phone because it was nearly impossible to ever get a signal.  Of course, I did grow up in North Dakota, so take that statement with a grain of salt.  Fast forward to when I was in college, everyone had a cell phone for emergency use only, because we lived in North Dakota, and now if you don't have a cell phone and ever run out of gas, you're screwed because there are no pay phones.

I was at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA a few months ago, and they had limited information in front of the exhibits, but a phone number that you were supposed to call for more information. Yes, a museum was encouraging you to make phone calls.  The librarian in me finds this notion absolutely repellant, and I also don't really want to be standing there on my phone surrounded by other people on their phones.  I mean, those awful acoustiguides are bad enough, now they're taking away all the reminders that there are places where cell phone use is just not ok.  Basically, this kind of cell phone sanctioning is going to turn people into even bigger jerks, I fear.
Acoustiguides are the worst, the WORST!
Well, the Danish Rosenborg Palace has even one-upped the Mutter Museum.  In front of the collection of Danish Crown Jewels, they have no information of any kind.  They put you in a room with a bunch of pretty things, and then just give you QR codes.
This is not helpful
I realize that they're doing this as a money-saving measure, but according to the computer programmer that I spent part of this vacation with, it's prohibitively expensive for an American to upgrade to a European data plan, so even if you want to get online, you need wi-fi, which the palace did not have.  Anyone not from Northern Europe who really, really wants to know about the Danish crown jewels, would have to, I don't know, take a picture of the QR code and look at it later?

I assume these are the more 'everyday' crowns,
but I have no way to know for sure
This just galls me to no end.  Museums and libraries exist so that everyone, no matter what social status, can access information and educate themselves.  They shouldn't be only for those who can afford fancy gadgetry!
In the case of the Danish Crown Jewels, certainly there must be some Danes, who paid for those jewels, who cannot afford a smartphone.  Dismayed though I am, I'm still no closer to wanting a smartphone.  Nice try, Denmark.


  1. I agree with everything here. Some places are sacred and phones should be put away! Libraries, and yes, museums! What's next? A QR code to read the Scriptures at mass??? :D

  2. That is just ridiculous! I can't really afford fancy gadgetry (plus I dislike the large size of the phones...they don't fit nicely in a pocket and I'm just not a purse carrying type girl).

    Things like this make me want to get on my soap box and carry on about the sad state of affairs of where this world is heading.

  3. I just found your post through blogher. First, I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who feels like everyone expects that all people have a smartphone even though I don't. Second, I completely agree that it is not ok to have to access information through a smartphone at a museum.

  4. glad to hear I'm not the only smartphone refusenik.. crazy..