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Is 'dial-a-tree' in our future?

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A story in the July 20 issue of the New Yorker called "Dial-a-tree," caught our attention. The premise: A Tree Museum.

According to the article (titled "Dial-A-Tree"), here's how it works: "Beside each tree on the sidewalk is a small light-green marker with a telephone number. The Tree Museum-goer calls the number on a cell phone, punches in that particular tree's extension, and hears a recording about the tree, or the neighborhood ... or some larger concept like global warming."

The museum is less actual "museum" than it is an outdoor public work on the Grand Concourse boulevard in the Bronx in New York, put together by an artist named Katie Holten.

But still, one of Travel Jonze's colleagues got to thinking. He sent this note along by email:

"Someday, possibly as early as yesterday, some local or national tourism agency is going to do this for famous landmarks. I could see the Park Service taking bids from technology companies to do this for scenic overlooks at the Grand Canyon, for the Lincoln Memorial, for the Washington Monument. London for Big Ben; whatever.  Remember those klunky earphones you used to rent at museums and art galleries? Well, just move it up a decade or two, and here we are."

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Such already exists at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, one of the nation's top contemporary arts centers. From their website:
Art on Call
Listen to artists and curators discuss works from the Walker’s collection on your cell phone or an Art on Call iPod, available from either lobby desk. Audio tours can also be downloaded from Look for the Art on Call symbol on selected artwork labels or pick up a listing. Audio tours are free.
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