With the addition of Booneville’s downtown commercial district to the National Registry of Historic Places, Booneville and South Logan County are becoming more noted for its place in history.
To take advantage of that, the Booneville Development Corporation/South Logan County Chamber of Commerce is developing a QR code — quick response — to disseminate more information about the city’s historical sites.
"It gives people the ability to access as much information as they want to see, or as much as we can give them , without it being in the way of the visual history of a building or an item," said BDC/Chamber executive director Stacey McCollough.
A code can be read from almost any angle and "it can be read from a distance with a camera on a phone, or a camera on an iPad, whatever device you have with the software to read it," said McCollough. "You see it on a lot of different products."
McCollough said there are brochures available for some of the local historical sites, including one for the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium that is, in essence, a driving tour with the brochure providing only nuggets of information about each stop.
"What we want to do is at each one of those stops have one of these codes on a sign. You scan that with your phone and it pulls up a picture, or a video or a story, or an interview, or all of the above," said McCollough. "It can be anything we need it to be.
"That way you’ve got the ability to put in more information than what you can put in a brochure and people can access it as they go."
McCollough uses a legislative address about Sen. Leo Nyberg, for whom the Nyberg building is named, as an example of an audio file that could be created and accessed through the code.
Disseminating that information through a QR code will have limited expense, McCollough added.
"The site that we’re using is one that we already own. The pages we are using are designed to where they are not searchable from the outside, they’re not really connected to the website," said McCollough.
Maintenance to that information — adding, changing or removing copy or photos or other media — is accomplished through the page and because the code merely points to the page, no changes are required for the code.
In conjunction with the QR code program, the BDC/Chamber is also developing an exhibit room — it will have similar items but it is not quite a museum — for visitors.
"For instance, somebody driving through town may not see the McConnell exhibit," said McCollough. "We can have a few bits of information in here — Gen. McConnell was a fascinating individual. You’ve got Dizzy Dean was born down the road but we don’t have anything that talks about him.
"You’ve got the TB sanatorium but there’s no signs that say it’s a historical district until you get up there. You’ll see signs that say Booneville Human Development Center, which is its current function."
Other notable displays could include the historic bridge across the Petit Jean in Sugar Grove, the old jail/City Hall in Magazine and or the Chism House in Chismville.
To make that part of the project work the BDC/Chamber acquired computers the school district was getting rid of through an auction.
"We can store so much information, more pictures, more stories, with less display space," said McCollough.
Tests of the QR codes have been successful on several different devices and pages are being constructed for the project.