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Farm Museum installs new technology to attract visitors, weddings

The Carroll County Farm Museum is embracing some new technology that museum officials hope will help grow engagement and interest among visitors.

By November, the museum will have both listed itself on WeddingWire, the popular Maryland-based wedding planning website, and incorporated a new cellphone-based tour via mobile service provider Guide By Cell.

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The cost of the services — a total of about $5,000 annually — is provided for in the museum's budget, and the additions are predicted to help grow and enhance the visitor experience, Farm Museum Manager Joanne Weant said in an update to the county Board of Commissioners on Thursday.

Weant said the museum has contracted with Guide By Cell to provide visitors with a way to engagement with the site in a new way. When people visit the museum, she said, they will be able to use their phone to access a tour of the museum by dialing a number provided by the museum. From there, they can take a self-guided tour by using a map of the site and punching numbers on their phone to hear about different areas in the museum.

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The tour, Weant said, can be accessed even after a visitor leaves the museum and is provided for free with the price of admission.

The service is currently used by the National Park Service and will provide visitors with a unique interactive experience, Weant said. The museum will also be able to more easily make changes to exhibits and presentations, she said.

"It's something that we feel puts us in with the big leagues," Weant told the commissioners.

The museum has also set up a virtual shop on WeddingWire, where anyone looking for a wedding venue can access information about the Farm Museum's site and services.

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Weddings have been held at the museum for at least the past 20 years, Weant said, but the recent popularity of barn weddings has made the venue increasingly popular.

Not only can people search for information on the Farm Museum on the site, but the museum will appear on lists of venues in the region, she said.

"If you don't have an internet presence, especially with younger brides, you don't have anything," she said in a Friday interview.

So far, Weant said, the museum has 24 weddings booked for 2017. In the weeks since creating a WeddingWire page, staff have received multiple calls and emails from people interested in hosting a wedding at the site who learned about the museum online.

410-857-3315

twitter.com/heatherleighnor

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