RFID: Now on Exhibit at the Met

A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has implemented RFID for art preservation and climate control.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New York recently decided to use battery-powered RFID tags for data collection purposes concerning the environment that the artwork is displayed in. Eventually, this data will be used to monitor climactic changes and adjust climate controls so they stay at an ideal level for the preservation of the artwork. Climate control is crucial, as artwork is extremely sensitive to environmental changes.

The Cloisters, a branch of the Met that features medieval art and architecture, recently implemented an RFID-based climate control system. Acting as a test site, the greatest challenge at the Cloisters was creating a system that could monitor conditions throughout different parts of the facility, encompassing all of its artwork. By using a wireless solution with a low-power mote sensor, the sensors were easy to install and would last between 5-8 years, allowing for an easy to maintain process.

Approximately seven different rooms throughout the Cloisters had 100 sensors installed in order to measure climactic factors such as temperature, humidity, airflow levels, air quality, door positions and light levels. Once conditions are measured, the sensors forward data to a cloud-based system that then applies 3D models in order to determine airflow and measure temperature highs and lows throughout the room. Should any unusual measurement be recorded, the system can automatically issue e-mail alerts, allowing staff to quickly address any potential problems.

After a sufficient amount of data is collected and analyzed from the Cloisters, the art’s status will also be tracked in order to ultimately obtain 100 percent coverage throughout the museums.

Learn more about RFID technology here.