Excavation and Acquisition of historical motifs/artifacts/stones are what everyone thinks a museum does.
Rosetta Stone from Egypt, Elgin Marbles from Greece, Koh-I-Noor Diamond from India, Nefertiti Bust from Egypt, Old Fisherman from Aphrodisias (Turkey), Sion Treasure from Turkey, Iraqi Jewish Artefacts from Iraq, etc. are some famous and priceless artifacts that are placed in museums from several years.
A museum is an institution that conserves and cares for a collection of artifacts and objects like artistic, cultural, historical or scientific importance.
According to Wikipedia,
Many of the museums display these items for public viewing through exhibitions that might be permanent or temporary. The purpose of the museum is to collect, preserve, interpret and display items for public education.
There are approximately 55000 museums around the world with 202 countries on the count. According to a recent survey, there are about 2 million annual visitors in these museums around the world.
Why Asset Management System in a Museum?
A museum is occupied with several antique, priceless and irreplaceable objects which are known to be museums’ assets. For example, paintings, statues, models of dinosaurs, or any other valuable equipment.
So, here are the examples –
How does a museum account for its priceless collection? or How it is maintained and managed?
Even How it is moved or shifted? or How does a museum authority avoid wear and tear of these unique and irreplaceable objects?
Assets of Museums – Art collection, operating assets, buildings, parking lots, paintings, statues, models of dinosaurs, antique display cases, archives, sculptures, etc.
Other Additional Assets – CCTV, Alarms, HAVAC system, etc.
Protection of artwork from thefts is a continuous challenge faced by the owners and managers of the museum, art galleries, and private collection of priceless artworks.
Asset management in museums and art galleries can be achieved with the right combination of RFID asset tracking capabilities.
The asset management system with RFID asset tracking has the ability to protect, manage, monitor, and track all the artifacts in the museum-like paintings, statues, etc.
Moreover, the asset management system also protects artifacts (that are not displayed), stored inventory, pieces undergoing restoration. Furthermore, it ensures the safe transportation of these valuable objects.
Real-life Example of Forgotten Artefact
Only a few selected artifacts are displayed in the gallery and most of them are present in the storage area of the museum. As they are too fragile or are undergoing testing, they are concluded as unfit for the exhibition. As a result, some of them remain undiscovered or get forgotten. Here are a few examples.
- Unique Mummy Shroud
A few years back, when the National Museum of Scotland was busy in reassessing their Egyptian collection, a senior curator found something. It was 2000 years old piece of textile, excavated in the 1940s and was present in the museum from then. It was found approx. 80 years after its excavation, because it was forgotten.
- An Egg from the Beagle
HMS Beagle the specimen collecting voyage of Charles Darwin had 16-chocolate colored eggs which were believed to be lost. But they were taken by Liz Wetton at Cambridge University’s Zoology Museum. After 10 years of this incident, one of the eggs was discovered by chance, she thought the museum was aware of the eggs but nobody was aware of them. Although, they were sent back in the 19th century.
To avoid these kinds of mishappenings and forgotten pieces/objects, asset management with RFID asset tracking is necessary. So, the museum authority should always know what objects are exhibited and what are in store.
Benefits of Asset Management System in a Museum
1. Accurate Tracking of Artefacts
An asset management system helps the museum to track its artifacts accurately. As it is known that a museum might have thousands of artifacts. Hence, managing and monitoring them can be a difficult task.
The modern asset management system gives you the privilege to feed all the details and information of all the artifacts on the cloud so that you can go through them whenever, wherever you want.
All you need to do is manually type the asset name in the system or simply scan the asset tag placed over it. By this, you can also keep the track of the artifacts that are either in storage (not opened or checked yet) or under testing.
2. Management of Store Inventory
Most of the museums include a store/shop with them to sell the relates books, stationeries, art supplies, etc. they need to be refilled whenever required.
Inventory management feature allows the setting of requisitions and purchase orders for the store’s inventory.
3. Restoration/Maintenance of Items
Most of the art pieces go under maintenance or restoration, the system helps you keep a record of all the maintenance activities going on either on the building of the museum or on the artifact.
You can set the alert notification that will be sent to you a reminder before the scheduled maintenance activity so that you don’t forget it.
Innovative RFID Technology for Asset Tracking
RFID technology has been around for a long time and it is a very successful technology used for asset tracking.
For museum asset tracking, RFID tags have the ability to quickly locate the valuable artifacts and objects that helps to prevent any kind of loss and it provides better visibility.
RFID technology for asset tracking provides you with all the information at one spot to help you know, like Where your assets are! or Where they were before! or Who had its control!
The RFID technology is an automatic identity recognition technology that works on radio frequency and enables remote monitoring of artifacts and objects through a unique asset identity tag. RFID technology is also popular and in-demand because of its data security.
Following are the applications of RFID technology in museums:
1. Inventory Information
RFID is capable of reading hundreds of tags at a time, this feature provides an advantage for tracking ‘cultural artifacts’ in museums and exhibitions. It also reduces the risk of damage by staff or any other person. This allows you to scan all the items without any physical contact.
The RFID technology serves 100% accuracy. Moreover, it also allows you to track and identify cultural artifacts that are not displayed but in storage, saving you a lot of time and effort.
2. Track of Museum Artifacts
RFID works on Wi-Fi, making it a more important and usable technology for asset tracking. It helps you track even the smallest move that is made in the museum. The system is regularly updated with RFID sensors which means a museum can track its assets approximately 6000 times per day.
There are some sensors which also sends report and alerts about the humidity, temperature and light change if any.
3. Museum Exhibition
Nowadays to gain more attraction, visitors in the museum are given hand-held PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) to scan artifacts and read more information about them.
These PDA devices work with RFID as multimedia technology.
Asset management system with RFID asset tracking reduces the problem, time and effort to manage regular assessments in the museum. Its feature of providing regular updates allows time and space to work on other areas too.
The asset management system should be considered for the establishment of tracking and monitoring of artifacts and their security in the museum.