Sheehy brings Mobile History to Medfield

Caillian Sheehy, Troop 89, and Mr. David Temple, Medfield Historical Society, with one of the QR code plaques he mounted on Medfield’s historic buildings.

The Medfield Historical Society has launched a new project aimed at bringing the past into the present. The project, named “Mobile History,” aims to promote knowledge and awareness of the historic buildings in town.

“There’s no better way to reach the people of Medfield than through their mobile phone,” quipped Caillian Sheehy, an Eagle Scout candidate with Troop 89.

On the weekend of June 30, Sheehy led a crew of Scout volunteers through the installation of QR code plaques on several of the historic buildings in town.

Sheehy explained that when the QR code is scanned on a mobile phone, it brings up a webpage on The Historical Society’s website. The webpage provides an audio recording describing the history of the building. It also features a transcript of the recording and a picture of the building. This is ideal for people on the go; Sheehy and his collaborators wanted to reach people of all ages, but particularly newer residents in town, as well as the younger generation.

Sheehy proposed the project to The Historical Society in the fall. He has been working under the supervision of Mr. David Temple on the planning and implementation of the idea until its launch last week.

One of the challenges with this project was getting a futuristic-looking QR code to blend in with the timeless beauty of a historic building. Sheehy noticed how elegant a brass boiler plate plaque looked on the First Baptist Church. The plaque commemorates the listing of the building on the National Register of Historic Places. “I thought it would be nice if I could mimic that look with a QR code, and for this I turned to 3D printing.”

Sheehy worked with Matt Costanza, the STEAM Room technician at the Medfield Public Library, to prototype and develop the parts. Volunteers from Troop 89 then helped with the painting and assembly.

The Mobile History service is available at the following locations around town: Dwight-Derby House, Peak House, Kingsbury Grist Mill, First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, First Baptist Church, George Inness Art Studio, and The Historical Society Building.

Sheehy explained that in order to take advantage of the Mobile History project, one needs to download a QR code scanner app on his or her phone. He recommends getting an ad-free scanner and suggests shading the QR code if the scanner doesn’t read in direct sunlight. He also recommended using the phone’s light to illuminate the QR code at dusk.

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