If you’ve ever traveled to any major historical site throughout the world, or Europe in particular, you probably noticed a fair amount of graffiti carved or written on its walls. For the last 200 or so years, visitors have found that the best way to commemorate their visit to ___ is by carving something into (or writing on) the walls. While many see this as fun, many more see it as degrading and a way of destroying ancient monuments.
This has been a particularly big problem in Italy, where officials in Florence are now testing out a new approach to combat the problem. They have placed three digital tablets in the Campanile bell tower – a 414 stair climb – where visitors can leave their messages. The messages will be saved to an online archive where they will be stored forever. If anyone takes the old fashioned route, the marks will be removed swiftly.
The question now is, will it work? The Newseum in Washington D.C. has a similar installation where visitors can leave their messages in remembrance of 9/11, but that isn’t in an ancient building. Will writing a message on a digital screen give people the same satisfaction? What other measures could be taken to prevent the defacing of historical sites?
You can read more about the story and an interview with the officials here.