Technology could spark more interest among young people in local tourist attractions

Miller at the Union Mills Homestead, Ivan Lufriu, tries out the new Virtual Reality Exhibit at the Homestead.
Miller at the Union Mills Homestead, Ivan Lufriu, tries out the new Virtual Reality Exhibit at the Homestead. (Ken Koons/Carroll County Times / Carroll County Times)

Thinking about the future of recreation and the arts in Carroll County, Union Mills Homestead Executive Director Jane Sewell said technology will play a huge role in the way the county interacts with its residents.

And she gave some ideas for how to incorporate technology in county and municipal parks and recreation departments in her presentation to the Board of County Commissioners this November. She spoke alongside members from the education, agriculture, health, technology, business and public safety sectors — to talk about what they need to be competitive 30 years from now.


“What is there to do in Carroll County?” Sewell asked. “We want to keep this rural flavor, but we need to move into the future — and that's the tough one.

“As we look back to the ’70s and ’80s, we see so much has changed,” she said. “Mostly for the better, but the wants of the younger generations are different, primarily technology-driven. [Information technology] advances are huge, and every young person is IT literate.”

Ways to incorporate that in recreation and the arts include adding QR codes at parks, historic sites and museums. QR codes are two-dimensional square-shaped codes that when photographed in real life from a smartphone, take viewers to online web pages with corresponding information.

“QR codes, which are already in some county parks, must be continued and expanded to reach not only parks, but historic sites as well as all tourist attractions,” Sewell said in her presentation.

She also told the group that with visits to historical sites and museums on the decline nationally, it will be important to keep cutting-edge technology incorporated in their exhibits.

“Technology has become a major necessity,” she said, “Virtual and augmented reality will hopefully encourage young people to be interested in the history of the county and the world.”