The team responsible for the large and valuable art collection at Parliament House in Canberra have a unique set of circumstances to manage. The Department of Parliamentary Services called on Smarttrack RFID to implement an RFID solution to meet their specific needs.

Art Services manages a large collection of highly significant Australian artworks, numbering approximately 8,000 items. The art collection is very mobile and has the added complexity of being managed under a unique environment and set of circumstances.  The implementation of RFID solution aims to address these complexities and streamline control processes.

Art Services has around 50% of all artworks on display at any one time, throughout the many public spaces, corridors and parliamentary offices in Parliament House. By comparison, most art galleries display only around 5% of their collections. Adding to this, Federal Parliament occupies a 32 hectare site containing thousands of rooms, making auditing and tracking artwork throughout the entire site very challenging.

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Image credit: International Conservation Services

With large numbers of artworks located in the offices of Parliamentarians, whenever there is a change of government, by-election or cabinet reshuffle, art must be quickly moved around as required. After an election, thousands of pieces of art need to be moved around the site in a six week period.

Our collection is large and extremely mobile. Not only does it need to be tracked with frequent moves, but we needed a solution that allowed quick audits of artwork in MPs offices with minimum interruption.

Justine van Mourik Director – Art Collection & Exhibitions
Department of Parliamentary Services

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Image credit: International Conservation Services
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One of the key features of the Smarttrack RFID solution that appealed to Art Services was the ability to seamlessly integrate with Vernon Collection Management System (CMS), widely used in the art and museum sector.

Integrating acid-free RFID tags, RAMP’s Loca.fi software and Vernon CMS provided a complete solution that can automatically track the movement of artwork in real-time.

We needed a proven solution so we looked at the Smarttrack RFID system already implemented at the Otago Museum in New Zealand. A huge plus for us was the easy integration with Vernon CMS.

Justine van Mourik Director – Art Collection & Exhibitions
Department of Parliamentary Services

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RFID makes auditing easier and faster, helps locate misplaced items and aids collection preservation by minimising collection handling. Smarttrack RFID has helped the Department of Parliamentary Services to better manage a highly mobile collection of Australian artworks, saving time and resources while ensuring a real-time view of where pieces are on a huge site with thousands of rooms.

The implementation of RFID has been done as part of a broader digitisation project within Parliamentary Services. As well as rolling out RFID tagging, there is a complete audit of the collection including restoration and reframing works as required.

About Smarttrack RFID

Smarttrack RFID (www.smarttrackrfid.com), is a joint venture between International Conservation Services (ICS) and RAMP RFID. ICS (www.icsconservation.com.au) provides conservation services and collection management to the heritage sector. Smarttrack has developed an RFID solution specifically for museum and gallery collections to help provide complete visibility of artworks, streamline audits and stocktakes, automatically track the movement of artworks and significantly reduce object handling.