The thumb-sized chip is hard to find that attached at the back of a 6th century Buddha statue in Gandhara Gallery of India Museum.
According to the plan of the Union ministry of culture, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are installed on art objects at Victoria Memorial and museum in a phased manner. The ministry manages the memorial and museum. Other famous museums in whole country also use the RFID tags like Allahabad Museum and Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, the National Gallery of Modern Art and National Museum in New Delhi.
This system needs the small RFID device is installed on exhibits for identifying and tracking. The sysrem includs a tag, a reader and a host system app for collecting, processing and transmitting data. If tagged object passes through the sensors at the gate of entrance and exit, the sensors will send an alert. Tags also help locate the objects during the count.
Satyakam Sen, the officer of the RFID project at museum, said, “It is a detailed task that maintaining a checklist of the items and verifying them after visiting time every day. Hand-held reader makes check stock easier.”
National Council of Science Museums come up with the tender of this project. A company in Chennai has acquired the contract of installing this system to whole museum.
At India Museum, the tags started being installed in July. About 1800 objects have been tagged. Purohit, the director of Indian Museum, said, “We have set up target of tagging 10000 objects in this year.”
There are about 35000 art objects at Victoria Memorial museum, mostly photographs and paintings. Jayanta Sengupta, the curator and secretary of the memorial, said, “6000 objects are tagged in the first step, the second step will begin next month.”
Sengupta noted the utility of the system: “In a museum, some objects are on display, some are in the conservation lab and some are in the store. We also loan some objects to other institutes. Once all the objects are tagged and the application is ready, staff can click by finfer to acquire the detailed information on any object.”
The authorities are taking measures to ensure that the objects are not damaged during the tagging process. An official at Indian Museum said, “The adhesive used to stick the chips are undergoing a potential of Hydrogen (pH) test to determine their acidic or alkaline nature. Particularly in case of organic objects such as fossils, skeletons and textiles, we have to ensure that the adhesive is not too acidic in nature.”