New social distancing technology at Magazzino Italian Art

May 20, 2020 287

BY: Vittorio Calabrese, Director

Magazzino Italian Art will be the first museum in the United States to adopt new social distancing technology to protect future visitors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Developed by Italian and American companies, this new technological device takes the guesswork out of social distancing by using radio waves to measure and maintain safe distances between visitors.

Pending guidance from the New York State government and the CDC on reopening cultural institutions in the Mid-Hudson region, at Magazzino Italian Art, we are thrilled to unveil plans for welcoming future audiences into the museum building safely – whenever it is next possible to open our doors. As the COVID-19 pandemic reshapes how public spaces function, we are working closely with officials at a county, village, and regional level to inform procedural changes that support the safety and well-being of staff, visitors and the broader community.

Alongside the distribution of EGOpro Active Tags to all visitors, Magazzino will be launching a series of safety measures and protocols, including: a mandatory online reservation system, bolstered in gallery wayfinding, creation of sanitation stations, regular cleaning of the space throughout hours of operation, contactless ticket exchange, availability of masks, temperature checks, the suspension of shuttle buses and coat check services. Access to the museum and use of these services will be offered completely free of charge to patrons.

The EGOpro Active Tags—developed by Italian and American companies, Advanced Microwave Engineering (AME) and Advanced Industrial Marketing (AIM), respectively—utilize UWB (Ultra-Wideband) radio technology to measure the distance between two tags. When the tags—and the people wearing them—are closer than the recommended safe distance, the tags will vibrate and flash a red LED light to alert the user and those around them that they have breached a minimum safe distance. The tags can be calibrated so that pre-approved groups can travel through the gallery together, without setting off each other’s alarm. The small device does not track or store individuals’ movements or data, emits a fraction of the radioactive waves of mobile phones, and are returned and sanitized.

In addition to the mandatory use of wearable tags throughout the galleries, sensors will be set in highly trafficked areas, like entrances and bathrooms to ensure social distancing is maintained. Intended to be as non-invasive as possible to the museum going experience, this device will allow visitors to enjoy and engage with works on view rather than having to closely monitor their distance to others. This technology has been used safely for people counting and distance measuring over the last 20 years in industrial settings and will be deployed at the Duomo in Florence upon the reopening of cultural institutions in Italy.

At Magazzino Italian Art, our top priority is the health and safety of our community. If you have any concerns or questions about the protocols outlined above, please feel free to reach out to our team directly. We’ll continue to keep you updated as we receive news from our public officials on reopening.

Stay well, stay safe,

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