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Swift Sensors IoT Solution Set to Protect Rare and Valuable Museum Exhibits

By Arti Loftus

A lot of museums around the world are located in old buildings which may be subject to drafts, warm or cold areas of uneven heating, many of the buildings hold historic value of their own. Museum personnel spend hundreds of hours every year, having to manually monitor and document variables such as temperature, humidity, and light within the facility in order to safeguard their acquisitions from deterioration.

Thanks to the ongoing development in the Internet of Things (IoT) and improvements in sensor technology, solution provider Swift Sensors can deliver a resolution which can not only reduce the time taken to monitor and record facility condition, therefore freeing up staff to dedicate their time to other important tasks, but also the museum’s cost-effectiveness.

By using Swift Sensors technology, exhibit conditions can be observed online, and alerts are received when readings fall outside of their set range. The solution uses battery powered, wireless sensors, approximately the size of a key fob, to take measurements at 30-minute intervals and send that data to the cloud. The data can then be reviewed securely on mobile phones, tablets, or from a web application on a computer. As the sensors are so small, they can be fitted almost anywhere in or near an exhibit, out of visitors’ view.

Chicago’s Adler Planetarium recently deployed a full Swift Sensors wireless monitoring system to monitor the environment and support the staff in protecting one of the world’s largest collections of historic scientific instruments which include telescopes, astrolabes, sundials, rare books, historic photographs, celestial cartography, globes, orreries, and scientific works on paper. The Adler Planetarium now has 81 wireless sensors in place that take 240 measurements within their exhibit halls and storage rooms.

“Protecting collections in any museum is critically important, but operating budgets for most museums fluctuate based on visitor revenue and philanthropic donations,” says Sam Cece, founder, and CEO, Swift Sensors. “Because our sensor system uses low-cost wireless and cloud-based technology, deployment, and maintenance costs are low.”

Without a constant environment monitoring system in place, many curative organizations would not loan articles and collections to museums without the proof that their pieces would be well protected. So they often develop an automated system that can take years to collate if done manually. The Swift Sensors wireless monitoring system, however, can reassure museum personnel and curators that the environmental controls and systems within the facility are maintaining a secure space for the many rare and valuable items that they hold.

“The 24/7 monitoring of our collections with Swift Sensors ensures I’m alerted of any changes in temperature or humidity that could damage our exhibits.” Says Christopher Helms, Collections Manager at the Adler Planetarium. “The system saves me 1.5 hours each day from no longer manually logging temperatures and humidity throughout the museum.”

Christopher has been able to create his own dashboards for convenience and efficient viewing and configure warning and critical thresholds for each of the sensor measurements, allowing him to receive immediate alerts on his mobile phone if a threshold is breached after a span of three hours by using the cloud-based system console.


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Special Correspondent

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