RFID Helps Museum Showcase Popular Exhibits

March 20, 2013 Joey McFarland

RFID Helps Museum Showcase Popular Exhibits
With hundreds of thousands of artifacts in possession, museums typically display only a small fraction of items at any one time, while the remaining pieces are kept in storage.  Exhibits are frequently rotated, making it difficult to track the popularity of different artifacts.  The Drents Museum in the Netherlands sought a way to solve this problem and improve the visitor experience.  When constructing a new wing, the museum turned to RFID technology to track interest in exhibits and allow guests to continue their experience after they leave.

The RFID system was provided by Impinj partner Ferm RFID Solutions.  Museum admission cards, developed by Ferm RFID and SmartRes, contain an Impinj Monza 5 UHF RFID chip and offer read distances of 3 to 5 meters (about 10 to 16 feet) at any orientation.  According to Marc Flederus, Ferm RFID’s CEO and co-owner, the cards are biodegradable.

Throughout the facility, fixed RFID readers, including Motorola’s reader which is powered by an Impinj Indy chip, monitor when visitors enter and exit a particular section of the museum, and the amount of time a person stands at each exhibit.

Guests can also visit RFID-enabled kiosks to learn more about an area of interest, such as pottery. By placing their card in front of the reader, the software associates the information on the kiosk with the RFID chip’s unique ID number which is also printed on the card. Upon returning home, visitors can enter the ID number on the Drents Museum web site to learn more about the material they were viewing on the kiosk.

Drents Museum is exploring more ways to use the technology to improve the visitor experience.  To learn more, read the full story in RFID Journal.

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